Certification for biobanks: the program developed by the Canadian Tumour Repository Network (CTRNet)

Biopreserv Biobank. 2012 Oct;10(5):426-32. doi: 10.1089/bio.2012.0026.


Two core aspects of the discipline of biobanking are biospecimen quality and good governance. Meeting the demands of both sample quality and governance can be challenging, especially in a resource limited environment. Frequently, differences between biobank processes reduce the ability for cooperative action and specimen sharing with researchers. In the Canadian context, we have made an attempt to identify these gaps and have provided a framework to support excellence, initially for tumor biobanks. The Canadian Tumour Repository Network (CTRNet) was established with funding from the Canadian Institute of Health Sciences (CIHR) Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) to foster translational research through improved access to high quality tumour biospecimens. Consistent with this mandate, CTRNet has focused on the establishment and deployment of common standards to harmonize biospecimen quality and approaches to governance. More recently, CTRNet has implemented a certification program to communicate these standards in conjunction with simultaneous exposure to education focusing on the rationale and foundations underlying these standards. The CTRNet certification program comprises registration and certification steps as two linked phases. In the registration phase, launched in November 2011, biobanks are registered into the system and individuals complete an introductory educational module. In the subsequent certification phase, the type of biobank is classified and assigned relevant educational modules and adoption of relevant standards of practice is confirmed through review of documentation including policies and protocols that address the CTRNet Required Operational Practices (ROPs). An important feature of the program is that it is intended for all types of tumor biobanks, so the scope and extent of assessment is scaled to the type of biobank. This program will provide an easily adoptable and flexible mechanism to communicate common standards through education and address both quality assurance and governance across the broad spectrum of biobanks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Specimen Banks / standards*
  • Canada
  • Certification
  • Community Networks
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Tissue Banks / standards