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This November 2020, we received Dewars/Liquid Nitrogen Tanks from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC/WHO) to support efforts in the establishment of a state of the art Tumor and Tissue Biobank which will be part of the Biobanking and Cohort Building Network (BCNet) in Sub-Saharan Africa. As part of our strategic partnership with IARC, we conducted a biobanking training for laboratory staff in early 2019 and we have plans to mount other advanced biobanking training with IARC in 2021.

ICI’s need to incorporate biobanking as part of its laboratory operations will increasingly provide the needed foundation for cancer research through the collection, processing, and storage of biospecimens under optimal conditions for the purpose of obtaining data about the causes, prevention, and treatment of cancer. The ICI biobank will also incorporate all the procedures and related services connected to the biospecimens and associated data. The services will include:

  • Recruitment of individuals to participate in a study and obtaining their consent.
  • Collecting and processing specimens for secure long-term storage.
  • Accessing and retrieving specimens appropriate for analysis.
  • Processing and preparation of biomaterials such as DNA and RNA proteins.
  • Quality control.
  • Packaging and shipping of specimens.

Once fully developed, the ICI Biobank will play a key role in advancing scientific medical discoveries manly through:

  1. Cancer Research by helping in the advancement of molecular and genetic epidemiology, molecular pathology and pharmacogenomics.
  2. Developing personalized medicine by using an individual’s genetic and environmental profile to guide decisions made about the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease.
  3. Development of precision medicine; an approach to disease treatment and prevention that seeks to maximize effectiveness by taking into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle.
  4. Biotechnological and medical innovation.

Biobanking is a concept that has developed at a fast pace over the years, fueled mainly by the need for personalized medicine, high-quality biological resources and associated data for scientific research, as well as advanced technology through innovative analytical platforms for molecular and genetic research. The advancements have enabled the collection and analysis of large numbers of biological specimens together with clinical and epidemiological data collected across populations. As part of advancing its research programs, ICI will leverage on the current technological advancements and collaboration with other biobanking stakeholders to harmonize resources and data for improvement of cancer care outcomes.