By Koh Furuta. Division Head, National Cancer Center Hospital. ISBER Publications Committee Member.
In Tokyo, Japan on January 19th, the Japan Human Biospecimen Science Society (J-HUBISS) held its third symposium, themed “Current status and future directions in biobanks and bioresources”. At the reception, ISBER documents were distributed per the ISBER Ambassador program available to ISBER members. Seventy-seven participants (40 industry, 36 academic, 1 government) took part in the presentations and discussions.
A variety of topics were discussed, including biobank construction, updates of biobanking fields in ISO, current and future directions in biobanks and bioresources from the industry perspective, and more. Additionally, we discussed the necessity of standardization, the major topic of my own presentation. I also gave an update on the current status of the biobank related movement in the ISO community, in particular TC276 WG2. During this update, I made introduction of biobanks in Luxembourg and China by using information kindly provided by Fay Betsou and Yong Zhang. I also made introductions of “Biopreservation and Biobanking”, ISBER, and BBMRI. Other highlights included the following: Naoko Minegishi of the Tohuku Medical Megabank (http://www.megabank.tohoku.ac.jp/english/) presentation population cohort studies in Tohoku area where the 2011 big earthquake and the following tsunami hit. The megabank (ToMMo) is collecting blood, and urine and has collected 1,100,000 samples from 70,000 donors so far. ToMMo utilized these samples for whole genome sequence studies and various –omic studies. Minegishi discussed how she and her staff solved the troubles regarding sample transport and sample ID error during the operations. Hiroko Kawasaki of the Biological Resource Center, National Institute of Technology and Evaluation, discussed microbial biobanking. She discussed the current status of domestic microbiology biobanking (NBRC) and made an introduction of the human microbiome project in general. Kotaro Hattori of the National Center for Neurology and Psychiatry presented on cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) collections from both volunteers as well as from patients with various psychiatric diseases. He showed how to collect CSF by using spinal tap method, and discussed the potential of CSF-omic studies. Kazuhiro Okano of Qiagen, Japan, discussed Standardization and the improvement of generic pre-analytical tools and procedures for in-vitro diagnostics (SPIDIA). Yutaka Yanagida of Astellas Pharma, Inc. presented on ESBB 2014, and discussed future directions of biobanking, the evaluation of biobanks (BRIF), and education programs, especially in France and Spain. Tohru Masui of the Keio University School of Medicine discussed biobank ethics, both human materials and “other materials” (e.g., experimental animals, plants, and microorganisms), and noted there are essential differences among the two. Ethical issues of biobanking of human materials may be constructed on the Belmont report (1997), and Masui discussed the fundamental issues involved in concise manner. However, for “other materials”, Matsui suggested we introduce some principles of environmental ethics. Furthermore, by introducing aspects of environmental ethics on human material research, it could open up some different thinking on the role of the individual in human material research, by introducing some benefits of anti-anthropocentrism into the bioethical burden placed on donors. The introduction of environmental ethics into traditional bioethics could be an interesting development. – Editor’s note: keep an eye out for a potential contribution from Dr. Masui’s on these issues in an future Biopreservation and Biobanking article.