Biobanco La Fe celebrates its 10th anniversary with more than 30,000 samples provided and references in 170 articles

Biobanco La Fe was set up in 2010 and authorised by the Regional Ministry of Health in 2013

May 13th marks the tenth anniversary of Biobanco La Fe as a biobank authorised by the Conselleria de Sanitat. In this period, Biobanco La Fe has contributed more than 30,000 samples in research projects and has been referenced in 170 articles. Each year, this biobank handles a sample of 6,000 donors, generating a stock of more than 200,000 samples per year.

More than 10 years of activity

Since its start-up in 2010 and its authorisation in 2013, Biobanco La Fe has consolidated itself as an authorised service with full legitimacy in the functions it has performed to date. The move in 2014 to the new Hospital Universitari i Politècnic La Fe meant a change in its structural model that was crucial for its national and international positioning. It made it possible to increase the number and type of biological sample collections, to optimise logistics and to have state-of-the-art equipment that enabled the automation of processes.  At the same time, the Biobank platform was brought closer to the patient and the needs of the scientific and clinical community, strengthening its role as a catalyst for translational research.

The certification and successive renewals of the biobank's entire quality system has provided the unit with a framework of confidence in the quality of samples and procedures. Furthermore, the new concept of the National Biobank and Biomodels Platform of the Carlos III Institute of Health, of which it has formed part since 2010, has extended its field of action to organoids and animal models, an opportunity that has allowed it to diversify its strategic lines and reinterpret the concept of the traditional biobank.

Among its most notable milestones since its beginnings are, among others, the creation, implementation and operation of the External Ethics Committee for Biobanks and Research Collections (CEBCI) and its establishment as the first brain bank in the Valencian Community in 2018. In addition, it has also designed and set up a training platform for residents, technicians, teachers, etc., which reaches 2,500 hours per year.

Present and future

Dr José Vicente Cervera, scientific director of Biobanco La Fe, points out that there are three main needs that still need to be met: "Designing and implementing a data biobank or 'Biobank 2.0', approaching society from a cultural perspective and facing new scientific needs offered by biomodels".

Adding value to the samples with the collection of complementary information will also be important. In this sense, Dr. Cervera clarifies that "the sample itself is incomplete, it has no exploitable value. It needs additional information, either clinical information through data associated with the different treatments and care episodes of a patient, or genomic information obtained from the subsequent analysis of the sample that will allow a deeper and more functional characterisation". In short, "the biological sample is the means by which, through specific and targeted analyses, complementary information can be obtained to make translational decisions", adds Raquel Amigo, coordinator of the biobank.

The trend of having large-scale genomic data and its exploitation will allow for more in-depth analyses using Artificial Intelligence and Big Data analysis. One of the most relevant projects being carried out by the La Fe Biobank is the integration and association of genomic data to the samples kept in the biobank, as well as the patient's clinical history to advance in precision medicine.

An achievement that would not be possible "without the trust of the donors and their commitment to science and research, the unconditional support of the Patients' Associations and the technical team that forms part of the Biobank", assures the management of the unit.