Biospecimens and biorepositories: from afterthought to science

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2012 Feb;21(2):253-5. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-11-1179.


Biospecimens are recognized as critical components of biomedical research, from basic studies to clinical trials and epidemiologic investigations. Biorepositories have existed in various forms for more than 150 years, from early small collections in pathology laboratories to modern automated facilities managing millions of samples. As collaborative science has developed, it has been recognized that biospecimens must be of consistent quality. Recent years have seen a proliferation of best practices and the recognition of the field of "biospecimen science." The future of this field will depend on the development of more evidence-based practices in both the research and clinical settings. As the field matures, educating a new generation of biospecimen/biobanking scientists will be an important need.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / methods*
  • Biomedical Research / standards
  • Humans
  • Specimen Handling / methods*
  • Specimen Handling / standards
  • Tissue Banks