Data pooling in biobanks: The BIOPOOL project

A European consortium of medical, research and higher education institutions is developing a network for banks containing digitalised images of human tissue—"biobanks"— which will help doctors to diagnose different types of possible cancerous tissues taken from patients' biopsies in a shorter time.

The seven partners across four European countries, Spain, the United Kingdom, Netherlands and France are developing the project, known as BIOPOOL, with a budget of €2,500,000 from the European Commission.

"The network will enable clinicians to compare the image of a biopsy for a patient with images of a large number of other patients across Europe," explained Francesco Moscone, Professor of Business Economics at Brunel University, west London, who is responsible for the business impact of this project.

"The benefits mean that there would be a faster and more accurate diagnosis of diseases, thereby preventing, or reducing, the need for multiple ."

"Fast and accurate diagnosis will also help in identifying the more appropriate medical treatment, as well as reduce the length of hospital stay."

The existing biobanks are organised collections of and associated health information, for medical-scientific research and diagnostic purposes. In the recent years, biobanks have started digitalising their material, by scanning their samples and storing images and associated information in databases.

But the digital images are usually collected in various different formats, and stored in separated databases and facilities. While image collections carry very valuable knowledge in several fields, their exploitation requires tools to gather, access, visualise, and process large images.

Professor Moscone added: "From the point of view of medical research, the large amount of data shared within BIOPOOL will allow the scientific community to conduct more meaningful clinical trials, especially with respect ."

"The use of such interconnected sources of data is very promising, as it is expected to reduce diagnosis time and related costs," he said. Roberto Bilbao, Director of the Basque Biobank for Research and coordinator of BIOPOOL project explained that the project involves a significant number of challenges, both technical and non-technical.

It manages very large images, as digitalised bio-images are stored in huge files, even reaching 10-15 GB per image.

The scheme will aggregate data from biobanks until August 2014.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Europe tackles ethics of biobanks

Jun 20, 2012

Collections of human biological samples used in medical research should be governed by clear rules that safeguard ethics while advancing knowledge, scientists said Wednesday at a Council of Europe symposium.

Safeguards needed for tissue donors

Jan 28, 2013

vast collections of human tissue samples that scientists hope will lead to new treatments for diseases – have a right to basic information about how their donations may be used, a Michigan State University ...

Recommended for you

Uganda on defensive over medical 'brain drain' uproar

Mar 03, 2015

Uganda's government on Tuesday hit back at mounting criticism of plans to 'export' over 200 health workers to the Caribbean, insisting it was only seeking to regulate an existing labour market and prevent abuses.

Seth Mnookin on vaccination and public health

Mar 02, 2015

Seth Mnookin, an assistant professor of science writing and associate director of MIT's Graduate Program in Science Writing, is the author of "The Panic Virus: The True Story Behind the Vaccine-Autism Controversy" ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.