Biobanking in developing countries: Role, Challenges and Opportunities.
Introduction: Biobanking is a rapidly evolving science worldwide particularly in cancer. It accelerates understanding of etiology, improves diagnosis, treatment and survival of cancer patients and considered the gate for personalized medicine. Furthermore, biobanks enhance development of new cancer biomarkers and new drugs depending on genetic profile of patients.
Aim to assess and analyze the situation of biobanking in Low Middle-Income Countries (LMICs)
Methods: We reviewed biobanks members in Biobank Cohort Networks (BCNet-IARC-WHO) and their situation as well as the biobanking directory.
Results: Challenges in LMICs include inadequate research culture in the community, religion-based misconceptions of donation, lack of public trust, fear of being abused and/or stigmatization, population education levels, and donors’ privacy. Opportunities: in Egypt, the presidential decree and development of the Egypt Ref Genome Project to collect 100.000 samples from the whole country as a database about genomic profile with subsequent analysis of etiology, preventability, and targeted therapy among Egyptian patients of cancer. Furthermore, we got approval of a professional MSc in Biobanking in MRI, Alexandria University to arm researchers with mandatory background and skills in biobanking in LMICs including SOP, best practice, ELSI, LIMS, and networking. Thirdly, increasing number of new biobanks to collect biospecimens for cancer research and continuous medical education to update and keep researchers at this field and to allow competence and entrance of the era of precision medicine.
Conclusion: increasing awareness of undergraduate students about biobanks and continuous
education and training along with adoption of the most modern equipment to allow
harmonization, accreditation, and standardization. Quality control quality assurance measures should
be inserted in all steps of biobanking. The adaption of automated biobanking is the ideal example for
minimizing human errors with less cost and better quality.