Qatar Biobank: A Paradigm of Translating Biobank Science into Evidence-Based Health Care Interventions

Biopreserv Biobank. 2019 Dec;17(6):491-493. doi: 10.1089/bio.2019.0051.


Biobank science is progressively becoming indispensable for the development of novel diagnostic tools in health care, by pairing standardized high-quality biological samples, phenotypic, and omics data required to best characterize the underlying biological mechanisms of response to therapy and survival. Qatar Biobank (QBB), Qatar's National Repository Centre for biological samples and health information, aligning with these endeavors, has developed a strategic framework to enable biobanking science that can be transformed into tangible health care diagnostic tools. In this concept, QBB works closely with multidisciplinary stakeholders: (1) governmental authorities (n = 2), (2) health providers (n = 3), (3) academic institutions (n = 28), (4) other research institutions (n = 6), and (5) the Qatar National Research Fund, by providing data and biospecimens to research projects. The local community organizes campaigns through social media and interactive events, spreading the concept of biobanking to inform and encourage people to participate. Up to now, QBB has recruited up to 30% of the targeted population and collaborated with 35 national and international research entities contributing to more than 170 research projects. QBB is referring about 53% of its participants to the Hamad general hospital through the integrated information system, revealing the need of new health screening approaches for public health policy makers. QBB contributed to the development of a customized genetic screening microarray tailored to the Qatari population that will be used in research as well as for the screening of variants of medical relevance in Qatar, promoting precision medicine in Qatar's health care system. The QBB strategic plan is a paradigm for the optimal utilization of resources, infrastructure, and investments engaging the local authorities and the research entities, and committing them to data sharing and working together toward the discovery of evidence-based health care interventions.

Keywords: Qatar Biobank; biobanking; health care; precision medicine.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Specimen Banks*
  • Evidence-Based Practice / methods*
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination
  • International Cooperation
  • Precision Medicine
  • Qatar
  • Translational Medical Research