Conference of the first Russian National Association of Biobanks and Biobanking Specialists (NASBio)

April 9, 2019, a conference of Russian Association of Biobanks and Biobanking Specialists (NASBio) was held in Moscow, as a part of the XXVI Russian National Congress “Man and Medicine”.

The conference was led by Oksana Drapkina (President of NASBio; Director, National Medical Research Center for Preventive Medicine, Moscow; corresponding member, Russian Academy of Sciences), Igor Korobko (Director, Department of Science, Innovative Development and Management of Medical and Biological Health Risks, Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, Moscow), Vsevolod Tkachuk (President, Society of Regenerative Medicine; Dean, Faculty of Fundamental Medicine, Lomonosov Moscow State University; member, Russian Academy of Sciences), Andrey Kaprin (President, Association of Directors of Centers and Institutes of Radiology and Radiography of CIS states and Eurasia; First Director of the National Medical Research Center of Radiology, Moscow, Obninsk; member, Russian Academy of Sciences) and Sergey Anisimov (Director of Operations, National BioService LLC, St.-Petersburg).

Oksana Drapkina, President of NASBio, made an introductory speech and report on the creation of NASBio and the role of biobanking in scientific and medical research and in personalized medicine.

National Association of Biobanks and Biobanking Specialists (NASBio) was organized in accordance with the task by the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, to create Russian national network of biobanks, depositories and collections of biomaterials by 2020. “The creation of the National Association of Biobanks is a necessary stage in the development of biomedical research in Russia. Biobanking plays an important role in the development of personalized medicine and reducing mortality in the Russian Federation in the context of the Decrees of the President of the Russian Federation”, said the President of NASBio, Oksana Drapkina.

The quality of such studies depends on a number of factors, including the collection, transportation, processing and storage of biospecimens. These procedures of the preanalytical stage should be carried out in strict accordance with accepted standards, – only that will allow getting the correct research results. The biobanks of the NASBio, using the common information field, will be able implement the standards for sample preparation and reliable long-term storage of biospecimens in the required conditions in all biobanks.

Working together, Russian biobanks will be able to accumulate the required number of biospecimens for scientific research in various fields of biomedical science. In addition, NASBio will resolve ethical and legal issues related to collecting and storing biospecimens and big volume of associated information. In the future, based on the analysis of data, it will be possible to compile an individual genetic passport of patients, to implement the principles of personalized medicine.

It is necessary to combine the efforts of biobanks and biobanking specialists. The goal of NASBio is to develop a network of biobanks in Russia, to provide specialized and educational services in the field of biobanking, as well as to assist in the development and implementation of scientific and practical projects related to the use of biobank funds and infrastructure”, – said Oksana Drapkina.

As a catalyst for biomedical research, biobanking meets the objectives of the National Technological Initiative (NTI), said Vitali Proutski, Director of National BioService LLC. He informed that the NTI Healthnet’s roadmap already includes a project to create a platform and technology to setup a network of biobanks of tissues and cell lines in 5 Russian regions. The project will be implemented on the basis of the integrated product of National BioService (NBS). Broad resources and infrastructure of NBS partners is applied to translate the potential of biobanks into real R&D: equipped laboratories, storage and monitoring centers, clinical organizations, expert work of a number of scientific teams, etc.

The importance of biobanking and genetic research in the fight against cancer was stressed by the head of the Laboratory medicine department of Tsyb Medical Radiological Research Center (the branch of the National Medical Research Center of Radiology) Lyudmila Grivtsova, noting the special importance of creating standardized collections of biomaterials for cancer patients. “Biobanks and the creation of systematic collections of biological material is a key tool for finding new biomarkers and targets for cancer drug therapy,” – said Lyudmila Grivtsova.

Particular attention in the speech was drawn to the noticeable lag of Russia from the countries of Europe and to the USA in the number of biobanks and oncological biobanks in particular, and the importance of the further development of biobanking in our country. The priority direction for the development of this infrastructure in the context of Decrees of the President of Russian Federation is biobanking in oncology. The scientific and technical base for the latter has already been created on the basis of the Research Center of Radiology led by the chief oncologist of the Ministry of Health of Russia Andrey Kaprin. During the meeting, Andrey Kaprin and Director of National BioService Vitaliy Proutski signed an agreement on joint work in the field of biobanking.

The problems that need to be solved for the development of biobanking in Russia were stressed by Anastasia Shatalova, Deputy Director for the Prospective development of medical activities at the Research Center for Preventive Medicine, Moscow. According to her, the barriers are the lack of common standards when working with biospecimens and the storage of information, the lack of a clear legal field, established and diverse relations in the field of data exchange.

All this necessitated the introduction of common biobanking standards and a quality management system designed to monitor the implementation of standards. Standardization of all stages will allow not only to ensure high quality of data samples and coordination of actions of process participants, but also to integrate into the global network”, – noted Anastasia Shatalova.

Well-known international experts in the field of biobanking also spoke at the NASBio conference.

Prof. Daniel Simeon-Dubach, Chairman of the Standards Committee of the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER), MedService (Switzerland), read a lecture on the current global status of biobanking and the prospects for further development of this important area.

Prof. Yann Jolie, scientific director of Center for Genomics and Politics at McGill University, a member of the UNESCO Committee (Canada) dwelt on the interaction of biobanks with partners, international exchange and the biobank lifecycle.

Quality control of biospecimens is a necessary tool in the work of biobanks. It is necessary to determine the condition of materials on a number of criteria using special markers. However, even in Europe, not all laboratories have an idea about the quality markings of biomaterials. In this matter, we also need to exchange experience and solve tasks”, – said the head of the Quality Biological Material group of the biobank of Luxembourg (IBBL, Integrated BioBank of Luxembourg) Olga Kofanova.

An interesting message about the specificity of temperature support in various models of freezers was made by A.Muraviev, Executive director of NASBio, director of business development of the company Quadros-Bio.

Head of laboratory of tissue repair and regeneration of the Institute of Regenerative Medicine, Medical Scientific and Educational Center of Lomonosov Moscow State University A.Efimenko spoke about the importance of biobanking for the development of regenerative medicine and about the ‘Noah’s Ark project’ of the University.

A message about the biobank in the structure of the science park of St.-Petersburg State University, about new opportunities that open up for scientists using such a structure, was provided by the acting Director of “Biobank SPbSU”, K.V. Volkov.

In conclusion, Vsevolod Tkachuk, the President of the Regenerative Medicine Society, made the summary on the conference and the assess of the direction of biobanking in Russia, emphasizing the importance and prospects of NASBio for the development of this field in biomedicine.

The discussion of the problems and challenges facing NASBio and biobanking in Russia was attended by specialists from Moscow, St.-Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don and Kemerovo.


State institutions and commercial structures – members of NASBio:

National Medical Research Center for Preventive Medicine, Ministry of Health of Russia

National Medical Research Center of Cardiology, Ministry of Health of Russia

N.F.Gamalei National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology, Ministry of Health of Russia

I.M.Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, Ministry of Health of Russia (Sechenov University)

Medical Genetic Research Center

National BioService LLC

Qvadros-Bio LLC

Lomonosov Moscow State University

Saint Petersburg State University

Center for Strategic Planning and Management of Biomedical Health Risks, Ministry of Health of Russia

National Medical Research Center of Endocrinology, Ministry of Health of Russia

V.I.Kulakov National Medical Research Center for Obstetrics, Gynecology and Perinatology, Ministry of Health of Russia

D.O.Ott Research Institute of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductology

City Hospital #40, Saint-Petersburg

National Medical Research Center for Radiology, Ministry of Health of Russia

Y.E.Veltishchev Research Clinical Institution of Pediatrics

Institute of Cytology, Russian Academy of Sciences

V.A.Almazov National Medical Research Center, Ministry of Health of Russia

A.V.Zhirmunsky National Scientific Center of Marine Biology, Far Eastern Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences

Rostov Research Cancer Institute, Ministry of Health of Russia

Biobank of Northern Eurasia