BBRB announces the third edition of the NCI Best Practices for Biospecimen Resources

June 21st, 2016 in Hot Topics
Contributed by Helen Moore, Chief of the NCI Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research Branch (BBRB)

The Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research Branch (BBRB) of the U.S. National Cancer Institute has released an update of the NCI Best Practices for Biospecimen Resources.  The document is available online at http://biospecimens.cancer.gov/bestpractices.  This revised 2016 version of the NCI Best Practices is intended to provide more current and detailed recommendations related to biospecimen and data quality.  This version includes updates and revisions as follows:

  • Section B, Technical and Operational Best Practices, has updated internet references; updated recommendations based on more recent research, guidance and standards for collecting, processing and storing specimens; updated informatics practices in recognition of the phasing out of the caBIG and caGRID programs; and updated literature references.
  • Section C, Ethical, Legal and Policy Practices, has been updated based on more recent guidance concerning informed consent for genomics research; return of research results and incidental findings; community engagement; and corrections and updates to internet references.
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Some of the NCI team members who worked on the 2016 NCI Best Practices for Biospecimen Resources revision. From left: Abhi Rao, Helen Moore, Jim Vaught, Carol Weil, Charlisse Caga-Anan, Rihab Yassin and Ping Guan

Jim Vaught, past president of ISBER and former Chief of the BBRB, commented on the new NCI Best Practices and how they both differ and overlap with the ISBER Best Practices:

“The 3rd edition of the NCI Best Practices for Biospecimen Resources, similar to the 1st and 2nd editions, has multiple references to the ISBER Best Practices, and in many ways is similar in terms of the technical recommendations.  However for the NCI Best Practices we have, as in previous editions, concentrated on addressing issues important to NIH intramural and extramural investigators.  In this regard it is important for the NCI Best Practices to be up to date in terms of the ethical and regulatory issues that affect NIH research involving biospecimens.  In addition, the NCI Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research Branch, which coordinates the Best Practices editorial process, has contributed its expertise and experience into recommendations based on current biospecimen research activities and evidence-based practices.  Finally, a major, and unique, addition to the NCI Best Practices is a checklist provided by the College of American Pathologists Biorepository Accreditation Program. We believe that this 3rd edition of the NCI Best Practices is our most comprehensive and informative set of recommendations to date.”

The utility and use of the NCI Best Practices has been highlighted by Tohru Masui, Ph.D., Professor at the Keio University School of Medicine, who said, “The NCI Best Practices for Biospecimen Resources has been inspiring me from its first issuance in 2007 and revision in 2011.  I have chosen the document for Japanese translation, since it is concise and essential, and would not lose its value for a long time; please see [2007 NCI Best Practices  or the 2011 NCI Best Practices].  The 3rd version has been updated in information and with new items according to current changes in issues related to Biobanking, and it also keeps its long lasting nature of the series.  I congratulate NCI on issuing this third version of the NCI Best Practices.”

Kudos go to Jim Vaught and Abhi Rao for coordinating the NCI Best Practices review and updating process.  BBRB would like to thank a number of colleagues who provided input.  Ping Guan coordinated updating the informatics section, with input from Kevin Meagher, Cheryl Michels, and Piper Mullins from the ISBER Informatics Working Group.  Judy Keen, Jim Vaught, and Helen Moore edited and updated portions of the Technical section.  Carol Weil together with Judy Keen, Rihab Yassin, and Charlisse Caga-Ann edited and updated the ELSI Sections, including an excellent job of updating web and literature references.  Phil Branton edited and updated various parts of the Technical Best Practices with new information concerning tissue collection and processing methods.  The College of American Pathologists contributed the 2014 College of American Pathologists Biorepository Accreditation Program checklist as appended material (ISBER members in bold).

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