Creation of a Forensic Pathology Biobank in Switzerland: which issues and research opportunities?

Int J Legal Med. 2022 May;136(3):919-922. doi: 10.1007/s00414-021-02747-0. Epub 2022 Jan 21.


A biobank is a collection of biological material associated with health database. The field of biobanking has significantly developed over the past 30 years. Research based on biobank material gives access to data of a large number of people and can often significantly accelerate the understanding of disease and improve the quality of care. In the University Center of Legal Medicine Lausanne-Geneva, samples collected during autopsies are used for forensic investigations. The legal and ethical framework to use these samples for research is often complex and confused, which is unfortunate given the potential of these biospecimens. Indeed, forensic samples are valuable for research because they originate in part from young (including pediatrics cases) and healthy people who are poorly represented in worldwide institutional biobanks. In this context at the beginning of the year 2019, the Forensic Pathology Biobank was created. Creation of a forensic pathology biobank is the best way to standardize local conservation practices and improve personal data management, thus providing a very valuable biological material for scientific projects. Its development gives rise to many questions about technical standards, ethical and legal issues but also many research opportunities.

Keywords: Biobank; Data management; Ethics; Forensic; Research.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Specimen Banks*
  • Child
  • Forensic Pathology
  • Humans
  • Switzerland