Biobank activities refer to the professional and systematic collection and preservation of samples of human origin, such as tissue and blood, and data accompanying them, and to making these samples and data available for health-promoting research. Biobank activities also enable opportunities for an increasingly effective identification of risk for diseases, personalised medicine and the development of systems medicine. Finns share a uniquely homogeneous gene pool, which is beneficial for medical research.
In Finland, genomic data can also be utilised effectively because the country has an extensive public health care system and all citizens are identified by a social security number. The value of biobank samples is based on the data that accompanies them.
A special feature in Finland is that the sample donor can, with his or her consent, be contacted and asked for his or her willing-ness to give additional samples or to participate in a type of research that is not covered by the biobank consent.
The Biobank of Eastern Finland develops forms of collaboration and facilitates collaboration at the national and international levels. The biobank engages in collaboration especially with regional actors such as ISLAB, the hospital districts, the University of Eastern Finland, Savonia University of Applied Sciences, the City of Kuopio and companies. In the Kuopio University Hospital’s catchment area for highly specialised medical care, the biobank also engages in collaboration with the Biobank of Central Finland.
The Biobank of Eastern Finland constitutes part of the national BBMRI.fi and the European BBMRI-ERIC infrastructure network and the FINBB, the Finnish Biobank Cooperative. It also belongs in the roadmap for research infrastructures of the Academy of Finland. The Biobank of Eastern Finland was entered in the national register of biobanks on 30 October 2015. The collection of biobank consents and new samples began in autumn 2016. 250,000 samples with their accompanying data from the department of clinical pathology at the KUH Imaging Centre have been transferred to the biobank.
The mission of the Biobank of Eastern Finland is to promote research in the fields of health sciences, biosciences, clinical research, personalised medicine and related fields, as well as to promote the development of disease prevention, diagnostics, treatment and efficacy. Its field of research pertains to the promotion of public health, identification of factors contributing to disease mechanisms, prevention of diseases, as well as the development of products or clinical practices that promote population welfare and health, or that can be used in clinical care. Samples with their accompanying data are transferred for projects in the biobank’s field of research on the basis of transfer requests.