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

Surrogate offers clues into man with 16 babies

6 hours ago

When the young Thai woman saw an online ad seeking surrogate mothers, it seemed like a life-altering deal: $10,000 to help a foreign couple that wanted a child but couldn't conceive.

Nurses go on strike in Ebola-hit Liberia

6 hours ago

Nurses at Liberia's largest hospital went on strike on Monday, demanding better pay and equipment to protect them against a deadly Ebola epidemic which has killed hundreds in the west African nation.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge arrives in North Korea

Aug 31, 2014

It's pretty hard to find a novel way to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge by now, but two-time Grammy-winning rapper Pras Michel, a founding member of the Fugees, has done it—getting his dousing in the center ...

Cold cash just keeps washing in from ALS challenge

Aug 28, 2014

In the couple of hours it took an official from the ALS Association to return a reporter's call for comment, the group's ubiquitous "ice bucket challenge" had brought in a few million more dollars.

Medtronic spends $350M on another European deal

Aug 27, 2014

U.S. medical device maker Medtronic is building stronger ties to Europe, a couple months after announcing a $42.9 billion acquisition that involves moving its main executive offices across the Atlantic, where it can get a ...

User comments