Biobanks and Public Health: A New Challenge for Public Engagement and Trust

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Summary

Modem biobanks should be considered as important structural platforms for sharing samples and data, providing benefits that go beyond those of a single study. To increase the impact of biobanking on feasible strategies to protect and improve peoples’ health, it could be useful to increase awareness about biobank research potential in the scientific community, as well as to promote collaboration among different fields of expertise. The basis for involvement of biobanks in public health has already been partly built up, emphasising the synergy in organising efforts and the openness to infrastructure collaboration, to ensure reliable long-term funding and resource sharing to the benefit of all. To obtain the maximum benefits possible from biobanks, which currently constitute a set of heterogeneous structures, a strategy of coordinated governance is needed, based on harmonisation of different aspects, built on the consensus of all stakeholders involved and society in general. It is important that researchers strive to understand public attitudes in this biobanking involvement so that the relationships between public trust in biobanking, donors’ behaviours and support for public-health involvement in the health-care system can be better understood.

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