A biorepository (also called a bio-bank) is a collection of blood samples, tissues and other biological materials donated by patients, coupled with information about their health, environment, lifestyle, medical care and responses to medical treatment. The two main parts of the Institute for Personalized Medicine Biorepository are the blood and tissue samples, and a database of information obtained from the participants’ care.
Bio-banks treat the samples and information with the utmost care and highest security. In most bio-banks, samples are stored in small tubes in ultra-cold freezers to preserve them for many years. The tubes are labeled with coded numbers or barcodes, and the freezers are located in secure rooms. Health, environmental and lifestyle information about those patients who have donated their samples to a bio-bank are stored in sophisticated computers within highly secure networks. The security is so stringent that no breach of information or samples from a bio-bank has ever occurred.
Investigators wishing to use biospecimens and/or clinical data that does not include Protected Health Information (PHI) will be required to submit an Access Request form to the Institute for Personalized Medicine Access Committee outlining the proposed use. The Access Committee will review requests and inform investigators in writing of their approval or non-approval of their request. All non-Penn State investigators must have a Penn State investigator as a collaborator.