7 July 2009
A number of difficulties have to be overcome prior to creating a functional system. As data is being aggregating from a wide variety of systems, information about samples may have been collected differently and to different degrees depending on the country. Quality assessment of these samples, especially those which had been collected many years ago may be difficult due gaps in information about them. With regards to samples that will be collected in the future, and agreement has to be reached between all participating biobanks in order to ensure standardisation and harmonisation of sample collection procedures. According to the project managers a potential bottleneck may be the harmonisation of the varying ethical and legal requirements of the different Member states (see news story). Along with differences in interpretation of EU legislation, public attitudes may vary between countries. It is also likely that attitudes to research may change over time, meaning that the governance structure will have to be able to respond to future challenges. In order to gauge public perspectives on biomedical research, the BBMRI is conducting a focus group and has included questions about biobanking in the Eurobarometer survey which is conducted by the European Commission to monitor social and political attitudes.