A research environment favorable for biobanking can create globally successful companies, and benefit both local and international R&D projects.
Finland has a current and comprehensive act on biobanks effective September 2013. This act aims to strengthen the due process of law regarding the sample donors and improve the researchers’ prerequisites for utilizing the human sample collections.
Biobanks’ task is to collect and maintain samples, such as tissue and blood samples of human origin as well as related medical data and act as mediator for health-promoting medical research. Traditionally, Finnish population has been eager to participate in medical trials which is an enormous advantage for research work. The reliability of the existing Finnish patient records that have been collected and itemised over 50 years is among the highest by global comparison. Add to the equation Finland’s strong public healthcare system that covers the entire population enabling clinical and register data be linked to biobank samples, and you have an research environment highly favorable for biobanking that is hard to copy.
Currently Finland has two active biobanks, Auria and THL. Additionally, there are ongoing plans for establishing new biobanks in connection to hospitals and universities. Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra and Turku-based Auria biobank are working towards creating a comprehensive eHealth environment in Finland that combines and utilizes individuals’ habitual, medical and genomics data in a standardized way. The new national standard will benefit all new biobanks established in Finland and is a step towards an even more reliable environment for patients, healthcare sector and research institutions.
In fact, health technology is the second largest high-tech export sector in Finland and the number of new innovations is growing fast. Finnish biobanking is a part of Team Finland’s delegation environment in Health 2.0 conference organized in the end of September in San Francisco.