St Petersburg University has hosted the first school on biobanking in Russia, which has brought together medical sciences, practitioners and biologists across Russia. SPbU’s scientists shared their experience in creating the laboratory which serves as a cryogenic storage system and centre for personalised medicine.

Biobanking is at the cutting edge of modern clinical medicine. Biosamples allow to know what causes diseases and how to fight them. In Russia, biobanking is on the rise: each year, there is a new cryoreservoir. The technology how to form a biobank can be nevertheless destroyed which can cause serious consequences. Up to 70 % of laboratory-associated errors are due to incorrect and inadequate collecting, processing and storage of samples.

Continuing education and sharing experience has been available beyond Russia, in Europe, so far. The one who is among the first to research and develop this new area of knowledge and activity in our country is Biobank Centre at the Research Park at SPBU. In 2017, it started to run a continuing professional development course “Fundamentals of biobanking: Theory and practice”.

SPbU’s Biobankcan serve as a model to form the centres of this kind across Russia.

SPbU Biobank’s Director Andrei Glotov

“The number of cryoreservoirs is no more than a dozen yet, but it is going to rise. For those who are just at the very beginning to open a cryoreservoir, our experience is absolutely necessary. Biobank Centre is a sort of multibiobank that runs fundamental and applied research projects. For us, it is vital to share our experience and we are sure that this experience will be successful”, — said SPbU Bionak’s Andrei Glotov.

The first school on biobanking held in September at SPbU offered lectures, practical classes, excursions, and scientific discussions. The only aspect that was not included in the programme was work with the biological materials, documents and equipment. Still, it focused on Russian legislation, ethical and other legal norms in biobanking.

The participants of the school were medical practitioners, scientist, biologists and pharmasists from Moscow, Kursk, Rostov, Vladivostok and other cities and towns in Russia.  They highly evaluated the expertise of the scientists of St Petersburg University and the performance of the Biobank. The expertise and experience gained during the school will be vital in forming  biobank in Belgorod, says Yurii Burda, Innovation Centre “Biruch”.

Interestingly, SPbU’s experience was useful for those who are far from medicine. Natalia Sverdlova, Far East Department of the RAS that has recently opened a “marine biobank”, highly appreciated how the SPbU's Biobank works.

Overarching priorities are shared by all the biobanks.

Natalia Sverdlova, Far East Department of the RAS

“The school on biobankings is the first one at our University and in Russia. To tell the truth, we have decided to hold such a school to share our experience. What is more important is to get a feedback and to see ourselves from the outside, which vital for making another step forward”, — said Andrei Glotov He also told about continuing education which will educate and prepare specialists to work in biobanks. 

The Resource Centre “Biobank Centre” at the Research Park at SPbU has no equals in Russia which develop fundamental and applied biomedicine. The Biobank offers highly efficient equipment: the cutting-edge cryogenic storage systems Likonick and Biosafe (—800 С and —1960 С), a unique HiSeq 4000 Sequencing, a DNA identification and sample preparation systems.