Let’s say you had a tumour surgically removed from your bowel. Would you agree to have residual tissue stored in a biobank for use in future research? What if you and your partner produced embryos for In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)? Would you want those embryos used for other purposes?
Biobanks are a growth industry. Estimates put the number of stored specimens worldwide from 1 to 2 billion and growing. Samples can include blood, saliva, a variety of tissues or extracted DNA.
In a nutshell, these “banks” of human samples can be used for a number of purposes, but the growth areas are in human tissue banking, stem cell banking, the IVF market and clinical trials.