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PROGRAMME:  8th - 10th MARCH 2021

Biobanking for Precision Care: Lessons Learned from Global Crises

A 3-day virtual conference highlighting the international biobanking response to the COVID 19 pandemic, where speakers will showcase their work and their efforts to adapt and sustainability while focusing on precision care.

At the end of the conference the audience will be able to:

  • To discuss the response to the COVID 19 pandemic from a local and international perspective
  • To discuss different approaches highlighted adopted by biobanks who are adapting to ensure long term survival and sustainability to support precision medicine research
  • To list new collaboration opportunities presented and to identify and understand the newest technologies and trends in the global biobanking sector.

MONDAY 8TH 2021 – DAY 1

12h00-13h00

ESBB – Workshop: Automation during a Crisis

Presented by:

  • Dr. Heidi Altman – Research scientist at University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden, Germany
    (biobanking and Haematological Oncology)
  • Dr. Bartlomiej Wilkowski – IT Section Leader – Statens Serum Institut (Danish National Biobank)

In a world with a need for a large number of biological samples for basic and applied medical science sample acquisition and preparation needs to be done in a way to guarantee the highest possible quality of the samples. Due to the Covid19 pandemic also infection protection plays a big role in biobanking. Automation of processes in biobanking can help to reach both, a high and comparable sample quality and a safe working environment for employees. The workshop will highlight use cases combining these two efforts.

13h00-13h30

BREAK

13h30-14h00

Opening Remarks

• Dr. Richard O ’Kennedy – VP Research, Development and Innovation at Qatar Foundation

• Dr. Rosita Kammler – ESBB President

• Dr. Jens Habermann – Director General BBMRI

• ISBER Representative to be confirmed

14h00-15h00

Keynote Speaker 1

14h00-14h45: Dr. Prof. Olli Kallioniemi – Director of Science for Life Laboratory, Sweden.

Presentation Abstract: Data-driven understanding of human health and disease

Technologies to analyze biobanked samples have become faster, cheaper, better, more standardized and more widely available, creating openly available FAIR (Findable-Accessible-Interoperable-Reusable) data sets with deep interconnected information. Such datasets have broad utility for the research community, for data mining, creating hypotheses for further studies as well as for achieving deep understanding of biological processes, such as disease onset and progression. Developments in biobanking and laboratory technologies have been matched by parallel developments in computational capabilities and algorithms, as illustrated by advances in Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). SciLifeLab is a national infrastructure for molecular life sciences in Sweden, where we have developed a 10-year strategy to promote infrastructure capabilities, research collaborations and data-driven life science (DDLS). Here, using examples of our own research and that of SciLifeLab and FIMM researchers, I will illustrate some opportunities arising from DDLS approaches in different fields, with the help of biobanks, including 1) understanding and exploiting polygenic risk factors based on large-scale biobanks, 2) multi-omics and functional studies of patient-derived cells to guide cancer therapy, and 3) Longitudinal multi-omics analysis promoting data-driven lifestyle change and revealing independent dimensions of human biology and health.

14h45-15h00: Question & Answer

Session Moderators:
• Dr. Richard O’ Kennedy – Vice President – Research, Development and Innovation at Qatar Foundation
• Dr. Jens Habermann – Director General BBMRI-ERIC

15h00-15h10

BREAK

15h10-16h50

Invited Speakers Session 1 – Next Generation Biobanking and Precision Medicine

Session Description and Learning Outcomes

Precision care and medical research is at the forefront for the most clinical biobanks. These new modes of care are making new collaborations necessary across the clinical continuum. The role of biobanks to support precision medicine continues to evolve and has experienced further adaption during times of risk or public health crises. This session covers success stories, adaptation of clinical care and biobanking. A highlight on fostering new local and worldwide collaborations to ensure that biobanks continue to provide their support to precision care and medical research.

15h10-15h30: Dr. Rita Lawlor – Chair of the ISBER GDPR Task Force

Presentation Abstract: ‘Biobanking Beyond the New Normal’

Biobanks have long been a foundation platform for good research, ensuring the availability of quantified quality samples and associated data to guarantee valid reproduceable research. The advances of research into next generation technologies, has produced more data but these data have not necessarily been governed to the same standards afforded by biobanks and this has created a potential new arena for biobanking quality standards and good governance. The idea of “the new normal” originally envisioned the digital information scene within the scope of big data. With the events of 2020, the concept of “the new normal” has taken on a different persona and the world of next generation biobanking has had to adapt, not only to this new reality, but also to continue developing its role in the digital next generation environment. This will ensure that biobanks can incorporate their particular skills to ensure precision healthcare in the world that exists in this new reality and in the one that will exist beyond this new normal.

 

Presentation Abstract: ‘Biobanking for advancing health research’

Advances in health research transform the development of preventive, diagnostic or therapeutic applications to a patient centered environment. Personalized medicine and the development of new drugs will arguably play critical roles in human health, so access to high-quality biospecimens from biobanks becomes fundamental. Collecting, storing and distributing quality-defined, disease relevant, biological resources and associated clinical and ‘omics’ data will improve and promote health research, also allowing the use of advanced algorithms to identify complex traits. Sustainable biobanking also necessitates a participatory approach to policy making and implementation, mobilizing public and private resources and merge knowledge, skills and efforts of all stakeholders involved.

The Clinical Research Center in Antwerp fits the scope of the Antwerp University Hospital and the University of Antwerp to excel in research, innovative- and qualitative care through the continuous interaction between development, transfer and application of knowledge. CRC Antwerp assembles a unique multidisciplinary research collaboration model, linking biobanking and clinical trials within an ethical-legal framework. In this way, the Biobank can contribute to the valorization of the research potential of both the hospital and university and to collaborate with third parties: such as, other hospitals, knowledge centers and industrial partners. As the number of available patient samples is often a limiting factor for translational research, the Biobank has set itself the goal of making these samples and associated data available for research purposes. Biobank Antwerp is on its way to playing an essential role in the advancement of health research and is rapidly changing the way clinical care is conducted.

15h50-16h10: Christine Currat – Executive Director of Swiss Biobanking Platform

Presentation Abstract: ‘Innovative and interactive tools to promote efficient collaboration between researchers and biobanks: a sustainability model for the Swiss Biobanking Platform network’

SBP is the reference research infrastructure supporting human and non-human biobanks harmonizing their practice and promoting high-quality research using biobanked samples. SBP vision is to contribute to position Switzerland at the forefront of biomedical and biological research by facilitating access to and optimal usage of high quality biobanked specimens. SBP mission is the coordination and harmonization of biobanking activities by increasing visibility, high quality, transparency, accessibility and interoperability of biobanks.

SBP clients are not only the biobanks and the biobank infrastructures, but also the biobanks’ users (researchers, clinical research units, quality managers) that will benefit from the biobanks’ harmonization, accessibility to samples and/or to biobank infrastructures to facilitate the setup of their research and even allow new research venues.

To that end, SBP provides a unique set of services with interactive and innovative tools such as the SBP SQAN and the SBP NeXT. The SQAN, called for Quality Assessment and Normalization helps biobanks get compliant with the minimal requirements in terms of governance, process and quality management issues, through an innovative process to educate biobanks and harmonize their practice by providing specific support and documentations.

16h10-16h30: Dr. Nahla Afifi – Director, Qatar Biobank

16h30-16h50: Question & Answer

Session Moderators:
Sheikh Dr. Mohammed Hamad J. Al-Thani – Director of Public Health, Qatar
Dr. Michaela Mayrhofer – Head of BBMRI’s ELSI Services and Research, Austria

16h50-17h00

BREAK

17h00-18h00

Session 1: Round Table Discussion International Responses to COVID 19 Pandemic

Session Moderators: Ayat Salman

18h00

End of Day

TUESDAY 9TH MARCH 2021 – DAY 2

12h00-13h00

ISBER Workshop: The Path to Excellence in Operational Efficiency and Biobank Management

Presented by:

  • Dr. Brent Schacter – Chair of the ISBER/ASCP BOC Steering Committee that lead the development of the new Qualification in Biorepository Science examination (QBRS) for biobanking professionals. Professor Emeritus in the Department of Internal Medicine, Max Rady College of Medicine, University of Manitoba / CancerCare Manitoba.
  • Dr. Alison Parry-Jones – ISBER Director-at-Large for Europe, the Middle East and Africa and Operations Director for the Wales Cancer Bank

Presentation Abstract Biobanks are investments in public health, biodiversity and research for the future.  The most important investments that biobanks themselves can make, are in their human resources and systems. An engaged, educated and empowered workforce maximises the opportunities to raise and improve quality through standards which in turn supports the stability, growth and operational sustainability of the biobank.  Proactive management through implementation of best practices can help a biobank to inspire every member of staff to be continually engaged in the performance of the biobank.  It helps to improve the quality of services by implementing new working practices more effectively and efficiently, it boosts operational performance, strengthens the resilience of systems, and helps to build successful collaborative relationships.

This workshop will look at how education and adopting best practices can influence the efficiency and operational viability of a biobank.  It will investigate how biobanking specific qualifications and courses can improve the morale of staff by recognising the activity as a discipline and providing a benchmark for biobanking personnel worldwide.

13h00-14h00

BREAK

14h00-15h00

Keynote Speaker 2

14h00-14h45: Dr. Uwe Oelmuller – Head of Molecular Diagnostics Technology Center for Sample Technologies, Germany.

Presentation Abstract: Standardized Preanalytics: The Key for Reliable Diagnostics, Research and Biobanking

Molecular in vitro diagnostics and research have allowed great progress in medicine. Further progress is expected by new biomarker tests analyzing specimens’ biomolecule profiles such as nucleic acids, proteins, and metabolites. However, profiles of these molecules can change significantly during specimen collection, transport, storage, and processing, caused by post collection cellular changes such as gene inductions, gene down regulations, biomolecules modifications or degradation. This can make the outcome from diagnostics or research unreliable or even impossible because the analytical test will not determine the situation in the patient body but an artificial specimen analyte profile generated during the pre-analytical workflow. High quality specimens with preserved analyte profiles are therefore crucial.
The EU SPIDIA Consortium (2008-2013) developed new pre-analytical technologies and generated broad evidence that guidance to laboratories on pre-analytical workflows improves analytical test results. Based on these results, the CEN/TC 140 for “in-vitro diagnostic medical devices” has released first 9 European Technical Specifications for pre-analytical workflows addressing different blood, other body fluids and tissue based molecular applications. Recently they progressed to International Standards at the ISO/TC 212 for “clinical laboratory testing and in vitro diagnostic test systems”. The new EU SPIDIA4P consortium project (2017-2021), supported by a large international network, is broadening to a final portfolio of 22 pre-analytical CEN and ISO Standards, as well as corresponding External Quality Assurance (EQA) and is driving implementation.
The SPIDIA project received funding from the EU’s FP7 under grant agreement no. 222916. The SPIDIA4P project receives funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement no. 733112.

14h45-15h00: Question & Answer

Session Moderators:
• Dr. Nahla Afifi – Director Qatar Biobank
• Dr. Andrea Wutte – Head of Quality Management at BBMRI

15h00-15h10

BREAK

15h10-16h50

Invited Speakers Session 2 – Harmonisation of Data/Biospecimens for Global Research

Session Description and Learning Outcomes

Session Description High quality biospecimens and data are critical components for reproducible basic and clinical research. The quality of biospecimens and associated data must be consistent and collected according to standardized practices in order to prevent spurious analytical results that can lead to artefacts being interpreted as valid findings. The importance of data and biospecimen quality has been intensified during this pandemic, setting biobanks into the spotlight. With the race to find out more about the new disease COVID-19 and to develop therapeutics and vaccines, there is a heightened importance of implementing the use of standard procedures, best practices and international standards guidelines to ensure high quality biospecimens and associated data in biobanks. These same tools ensure that global research, whether it is rare disease research, cancer, or population health, are reproducible. In this session, we will discuss QA/QC management (analytics) and biobank specimens and data can be interpreted through interoperability.

15h10-15h30: Dr. Kurt. Zatloukal – Professor of pathology at the Medical University of Graz, Austria and head of the Diagnostic and Research Center for Molecular BioMedicine

Presentation Abstract: “Biobanks as health data infrastructures”

Data associated with biosamples become increasingly relevant for biobanks. Data comprise for example information on the sample donor, meta-data on the samples including quality-related data, data generated by analysis of biosamples, and follow-up data from the patient. In order to properly manage these data a trusted data environment has to be established that uses latest privacy-preserving technologies. Furthermore, there are new concepts for data access that enable data analysis in a local trusted environment (e.g., federated machine learning and multi-party computing) instead of sending data to researchers. This access model improves privacy by reducing the risk of patient re-identification by combining different anonymized data sets, avoids issues related to legal compliance in context of international collaboration, and enables fair benefit sharing from using data. These are just a few examples of the important role of biobanks as trusted health data infrastructures for research and innovation supporting digital transformation of health systems.

15h30-15h50: Dr. Gabriela Anton – Head of the working group biobank at the Institute of Epidemiology at Helmholtz Center Munich, Germany

Presentation Abstract: Biosampling in the National Pandemic Cohort Network of Germany (NAPKON)

The presentation introduces NAPKON, the National Pandemic Cohort Network of Germany. NAPKON consists of three cohort platforms for the recruitment of Covid-19 patients all over Germany and four infrastructures to support these activities.
The talk will focus on the biosampling schemes within NAPKON, the current status of recruitment and the challenges of the activities in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic

15h50-16h10: Dr. Koh Furuta – National expert of ISO TC212 (Clinical Laboratory) and ISO TC215SC1(Genomics informatics).

Presentation Abstract: ‘Roles of guidance for high quality biospecimens and data’

  • Problem:
    Quality, biospecimens and data are three key factors in biobank related fields. This statement may be translated into another way such that three cores exist in this biobank related fields, such as biobanking, clinical laboratory, and informatics.
    Diverse parties are providing various guidance in biobanking fields. This multiple guidance put biobankers in general in confusion. For general biobankers many guidance are not necessary better than a few. There are not a little needs of guidance (guidance of guidance) for biobankers to choose an appropriate guidance fit for their needs.
  • Solution:
    ISBER is a global biobanking organization that creates opportunities for networking, education, and innovation. ISBER provides a community for harmonizing approaches to emerging challenges in repositories, as well as fostering ideas to create new solutions. At this time, it is important for ISBER to provide information including background environment in needs for biobankers in general. ISBER’s contribution in this field are followings such as Best Practice 4th edition, various tools including SPREC, and so on. These ISBER’s contribution have good interactions with various ISO activities.
    As mentioned above, in this biobank related fields, biobanking, clinical laboratory, and informatics are key fields. Each filed has specialized ISO Technical Committees (TCs), such as TC276WG2 for “Biobanks and bioresources”, TC212 WG1 for ” Quality and competence in the medical laboratory” and WG4 for “Microbiology and molecular diagnostics”, and TC215 SC1 for “Genomics Informatics”. These ISO TCs were established independently, however it is very interesting that these three TCs are exchanging liaison each other and recently TC276 (Biotechnology) and TC212 (Clinical laboratory testing and in vitro diagnostic test systems) established even a joint working project for SARSCoV-2, “Quality Practice for detection of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 by nucleic acid amplification methods”. ISOs’ contribution in this field are providing various standards such as 20387 (General requirements for biobanking), 22758 (Implementation guide for ISO 20387), 15189 (Medical laboratories — Requirements for quality and competence), and so on.
  • Messages:
    Directions of solutions mentioned above are diverse. Seeking high quality biospecimens and data cannot be achieved by only following one single pathway. Biobankers need to understand that broad and flexible approaches. Biobankers may count on ISBER as a trust-worthy partner.

16h10-16h30: David Brown

16h30-16h50: Question and Answer

Session Moderators:
• Dr. Edward Stuenkel – Founding Dean, College of Health and Life Sciences, Hamad Bin Khalifa University  
• Dr. Ronny Baber – Head of the LIFE-Biobank and LIFE-Preanalytical laboratory Leipzig Germany, ESBB Treasurer

16h50-17h00

BREAK

17h00-18h00

Poster Abstract Presentations

18h00-18h15: Question and Answer

Session Moderators:

• Dr. Alison Parry-Jones
• TBC

18h15

End of Day 2

WEDNESDAY 10TH 2021 – DAY 3

12h00-13h00

BBMRI Workshop

Presented by:

  • Dr. Peter Reigman – Head of the Erasmus MC Tissue Bank at the Pathology Dept, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam,
  • Dr. Christine Hartfelt – Coordinator for quality management at the German Biobank Node (GBN)

The implementation of comprehensive quality measures in biobanks is the key to reliable and reproducible research on biological materials. In addition, it is a key element for sustainable biobanking and the fulfillment of the societal mandate. Hence, biobankers and biomedical researchers are called upon to implement, where applicable, international standards in order to improve biobanking activities and bringing biobank on the cutting edge of research.

In this workshop we provide an overview and practical approaches to the international biobanking standard ISO 20387:2018 “Biobanking, general requirements for biobanking” and the reference to a set of international standards for pre-analytical sample handling procedures. Frozen tissues, formalin fixed paraffin embedded tissue and venous whole blood processing will be discussed likewise and an outlook on new standard developments will be given. The workshop is rounded off with an active exchange of experiences for the audience to give space for questions and answers.

13h00-14h00

BREAK

14h00-15h20

Invited Speakers Session 3 – Adapting to New Avenues of Sustainability

In the last decade, the developments in basic, pre-clinical and translational research, and the focus towards personalized medicine, have fuelled an explosion of biobanking activities around the world. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has further pushed the establishment of new biobanks. A major issue of sustainability in biobanking, is forcing stakeholders to consider how to streamline operations, to improve cost-effectiveness, and to enhance management and environmental accountability for the long-term survival of biobanks. In this session, we discuss how biobanks are adapting their operational, social and financial sustainability plans during COVID19 and beyond. This session also covers new considerations of sustainability during a global crisis and ensure the continuation of precision care and research during the pandemic.

Learning Objectives:

14h00-14h20: Marialuisa Lavitrano – Professor of Pathology, director of Molecular Medicine Unit, School of Oncology, Milano-Bicocca University

Presentation Abstract: Healthcare Integrated Biobanking in Italy

Human biological material – both samples and information – stored in biobanks and suitable for modern molecular analysis is the most critical resource for translation of advances in molecular biology and technologies into improved human health.

Healthcare Integrated Biobanks are playing an increasingly important role both in biomedical research and in transferring knowledge to health systems. Italy plans that biobanks will become integral parts of the national health care structures.

14h20-14h40: Mark Divers – Director of Karolinska Institutet Biobank

Presentation Abstract: Never give up: insights on biobank sustainability from the KI Biobank

Using the experience of KI Biobank, this presentation will briefly describe the history and background of biobanks in medical research, how they operate, and the challenges that need to be overcome to keep the biobank itself healthy. Examples of research and public health breakthroughs based on the careful use of biobanks will be given. The presentation will conclude with reflections on addressing global challenges with better use of biobanks.

14h40 – 15h00:

• Dr. Zisis Kozlakidis – Head of Laboratory Services and Biobanking at the International Agency for Research on Cancer, World Health Organization (IARC/WHO).  

• Marianne Henderson – Senior Advisor for Division Resources, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics and Senior Advisor on Biobanking, Center for Global Health, U.S. NCI.

Presentation Abstract: Coronavirus and Biobanking: The Collective Global Experiences of the First Wave and Bracing for the Second

As the SARS-CoV2 infections causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have continued to spread across the world for the greater part of a year, it is important to continue to adapt and prepare for the ongoing pandemic challenges. The field of biobanking has been recognized as an integral part of the global research infrastructure and the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The adaptations that have occurred in biobanking in response to the pandemic include the streamlining of workflows for the rapid and safe collection of high-quality samples and associated data from areas of high transmission; rapid sharing of data globally; and support of research to understand the biology of the virus, as well as its clinical management and vaccine development. Effectively and efficiently managing all these adaptations will matter not only to patients with COVID-19, but also to health care workers, other vulnerable groups who are at risk of infection, and the population as a whole.  This presentation will highlight the activities across the world that were subject to papers that were published in the December 2020 Issue of Biopreservation and Biobanking.

15h00-15h20: Dr. Adeel Butt – Professor of Medicine and Healthcare Policy and Research, Weill Cornell Medical College, Qatar and Vice Chair, Department of Medicine, HMC, Director, Clinical Epidemiology Research Unit, HMC

Presentation Abstract: The Other Big Data:  Using Electronic Health Records to Answer Critical Questions at a National Level

15h20-15h40: Question and Answer

Session Moderators:
• Moderators TBC
• Dr. Rosita Kammler

15h40-16h00

BREAK

16h00-17h05

Keynote Speaker 3

16h00-16h45: Dr. Vincent Munster – PhD-Chief Virus Ecology Section-Rocky Mountain Laboratories-NIAID/NIH

Transmission and countermeasures of SARS-CoV-2

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in December 2019 and is responsible for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Here we will provide an overview of our current understanding of human-to-human transmission and delineate the relative contribution for each of the different routes of transmission and how transmission relates to the design of effective countermeasures. Vaccines are an essential countermeasure and are urgently needed to control the pandemic. Here we focus on the rapid preclinical development of the ChadOx1 COVID19 vaccine / AZ1222 as model for pandemic control.

16h45-17h05: Question & Answer

17h05-17h15

BREAK

17h15-18h00

Poster Abstract Presentations

18h00-18h15: Question and Answer

18h15-18h45

AWARDS AND CLOSING CEREMONY

17h05-17h15

BREAK