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Mol Cell Proteomics. 2008 Oct;7(10):2061-6. doi: 10.1074/mcp.R800010-MCP200. Epub 2008 Aug 1.

Banking of biological fluids for studies of disease-associated protein biomarkers.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, 1870 Frederiksberg C, Denmark.


With the increasing demand of providing personalized medicine the need for biobanking of biological material from individual patients has increased. Such samples are essential for molecular research aimed at characterizing diseases at several levels ranging from epidemiology and diagnostic and prognostic classification to prediction of response to therapy. Clinically validated biomarkers may provide information to be used for diagnosis, screening, evaluation of risk/predisposition, assessment of prognosis, monitoring (recurrence of disease), and prediction of response to treatment and as a surrogate response marker. Many types of biological fluids or tissues can be collected and stored in biorepositories. Samples of blood can be further processed into plasma and serum, and tissue pieces can be either frozen or fixed in formalin and then embedded into paraffin. The present review focuses on biological fluids, especially serum and plasma, intended for study of protein biomarkers. In biomarker studies the process from the decision to take a sample from an individual to the moment the sample is safely placed in the biobank consists of several phases including collection of samples, transport of the samples, and handling and storage of samples. Critical points in each step important for high quality biomarker studies are described in this review. Failure to develop and adhere to robust standardized protocols may have significant consequences as the quality of the material stored in the biobank as well as conclusions and clinical recommendations based on analysis of such material may be severely affected.

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