Biobank activities will be harmonised
Biobanks are part of the research infrastructure. In biobanks, samples of human origin and related data are stored for supporting research.
Biobanks operate in Finland in connection with hospital districts, universities, the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), the Finnish Red Cross Blood Service, the Finnish Hematological Registry and healthcare service company Terveystalo.
The establishment and operation of biobanks in Finland are regulated and supervised. The National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health to the Finnish Medicines Agency (FIMEA) directs and monitors biobank activities and maintains a national biobank register, which was established to provide information and increase transparency with regard to biobank activities. Until the end of 2019, the direction and monitoring tasks belonged to the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira).
There are currently eleven registered biobanks in Finland.
In 2017, the hospital districts and universities founded a joint service unit called the Finnish Biobank Cooperative, FINBB. All hospital biobanks and THL Biobank are members of the cooperative. In addition, the cooperative has a cooperation agreement with, for example, the Teveystalo biopankki.
The role of the cooperative is to support the activities of biobanks by harmonising operating practices, developing tools and simplifying processes. Biobanks will continue their core activities, i.e. the processing of samples and related data in order to support research, but with the help of the cooperative, biobank data can be accessed centrally through, for example, the Fingenious service.