contributed by Daniel Catchpole, PhD FFSc(RCPA) (ASsociate Professor, Head of The Tumour Bank The Children’s Cancer Research Unit, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Australia and ISBER Director at Large – Indo-Pacific Rim)
As personalised medicine begins to be realised in our hospitals, so the application of biobanking standards becomes more pertinent. With this we are finding that new groups are showing interest in ISBER and its best practice recommendations documentation. This is no more apparent than in China where the shear size of the population necessitates the growth of systematic biobanking. With this in mind I had the privilege to accept an invitation to participate in the P4 China 3rd International Precision Medicine Convention on the 1st-2nd December in Beijing China. This meeting was directed at clinico-researchers from across China and, with over 500 delegates, was a relatively active group focussed on applications of personalised medicine in their clinical services. During my time in Beijing, I was warmly welcomed and my hosts ensured I had a comfortable stay.
It was well supported by many local as well as international sponsors including Qiagen, Illumina, BD, Agilent and Thermo-Fisher. With the three concurrent sessions, I spoke within the Cohort and Multi-Omics Translation Forum on the role of Biobanking in Precision medicine and a second time on Big Data. This was an interesting experience as all sessions within the meeting were presented in mandarin so I required an interpreter. Despite not having as much opportunity to network with folk at this conference due to language differences, what I learned was that the medical research environment in China is growing fast, is high quality and we will see applications of precision medicine start to affect many people in the near future. As ISBER gathers in Shanghai in May 2019 for its 20th anniversary, I believe we will be engaging with a burgeoning biobanking environment where our society will have much to learn and share with each other – and for which ISBER will truly be able to claim that it has touched the four corners of the globe and is truly an ‘international’ society. Exciting times ahead in this region.