What are biospecimens?
Biospecimens are materials taken from the human body, such as tissue, blood, plasma, and urine that can be used for cancer diagnosis and analysis. During a biopsy, surgery, or other procedure a small amount of specimen removed can be stored and used for later research. Once these samples have been properly processed and stored they are known as human biospecimens. Biospecimens may contain DNA, RNA, proteins, and other molecules important for understanding disease.
Biospecimens are commonly accompanied by information (annotation) about the patient from whom the biospecimen was taken. This may come from interviews with the patient or patient’s family members; medical records patients consent to provide; and from clinical trials that patients volunteer to join. Federal guidelines put a high priority on protecting the privacy of personal and medical information.
What are biorepositories (biobanks)?
Biorepositories are “libraries” where biospecimens are stored. They are made available for scientists to study for clinical or research purposes.
How can I donate Biospecimens?
Biospecimens become available for medical research when patients donate tissue or biofluid, such as blood, while they are undergoing surgery, biopsy, or other medical procedures.
How can patients help?
Biospecimens are available for medical research when they are donated by patients while they are undergoing surgery, biopsy, or other medical procedures.
How is my privacy protected after donation?
Federal guidelines put a high priority on protecting the privacy of personal and medical information. You can help support research!
Consider Donating a Biospecimen
As a patient scheduled for a biopsy or surgery, you may be asked before the procedure if you would consider donating a biospecimen for research. Donating your biospecimens is entirely voluntary. There will be no impact on the surgical procedure itself.
Click here to see what the lifecycle of biospecimens looks like.
Share your thoughts
This website provides updates and resources about biorepositories and the use of biospecimens for research. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments or questions.
Spread the word!
If you know others who will be in a medical position to provide biospecimens, consider telling them what you’ve learned about the need for donors and directing them to this website.