Project: Understanding public engagement with biobanking

A project exploring the publics' views on donating tissue samples for medical research

Biobanks are used to store tissue samples that can then be used in to research to increase understanding of different illnesses and develop new treatments. To do this biobanks need to collect samples from a wide range of people. The aim of this project is to increase our understanding of what might encourage or discourage people to participate in biobanking.

The two papers related to this project which have been published in BMJ Open can be found here:

Consent for the use of human biological samples for biomedical research: a mixed methods study exploring the UK public's preferences

Public views on the donation and use of human biological samples in biomedical research: a mixed methods study


Additional documents relating to this project are available here

View the latest report, on public engagement, released by the project here

This is part of a much larger project called the Strategic Tissue Repository Alliance through Unified Methods, or STRATUM. STRATUM aims to increase the effectiveness of tissue sample provision for biobanking research.This will ensure that the UK pharmaceutical, biotechnology and diagnostic sectors have access to tissue samples that will increase the chance of new drugs being successfully developed. STRATUM is a collaboration between the pharmaceutical industry and academia, led by AstraZeneca. Other partners of the consortium include GlaxoSmithKline, Lab21 and the universities of Manchester, Nottingham and Leicester.

Public engagement with biobanking is a pivotal area of work for STRATUM, and is being led by Genetics Alliance UK. We will be working with other STRATUM members to develop research in to public awareness of biobanking and how willing people are to donate samples. We will use this to produce a report that will be used to help define biobanking policy in the UK, particulary how biobanks are run and what standards they need to meet. In total there are nine other work areas for STRATUM, including our public engagment work. 

This project will run for 18 months from October 2011 and further updates on the public engagement work will be posted on the Genetic Alliance UK website.