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May 21, 2008

Tracing Biological Collections: Between Books and Clinical Trials

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Inserm U780, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Villejuif, France, and Université Paris-Sud, Paris, France (Dr Kauffmann); Inserm U558, Epidemiology and Analysis in Public Health, and Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France (Dr Cambon-Thomsen).

JAMA. 2008;299(19):2316-2318. doi:10.1001/jama.299.19.2316

Human biological collections, biobanks, or biorepositories, defined as “an organized collection of human biological material and associated information stored for one or more research purposes,”1 are key tools in biological research, especially in genetics, genomics, and postgenomics research. Optimizing and assessing their use are 2 major strategic objectives of scientists, patients, and health science institutions. Tracing the use of such resources is a first step on this path, but in practice it is difficult because there are no standardized operational tools. Traceability is usually associated with an individual dimension. In this Commentary, we describe the possibility of tracing the bioresources represented by entire collections.