Taipei, Oct. 12 (CNA) A plaque unveiling ceremony for an office that will supervise the National Biobank Consortium of Taiwan, an integrated platform that seeks to establish a mega databank to promote the development of Taiwan’s biotechnology industry, was held Monday in Taipei.
The “central office” is situated at the Zhunan branch of the National Health Research Institute (NHRI) and is headed by NHRI Vice President Sytwu Huey-kang (司徒惠康).
It is also responsible for establishing cooperation with biobanks, enacting standard operating procedures for biological samples and collecting data from various biobanks and related medical information.
The office also provides a one-stop window for access to related data, according to Sytwu.
Since the Human Biobank Management Act was promulgated in 2010, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) has approved the establishment of 33 biobanks in Taiwan.
The biobank integration platform was officially established last year to boost the collection and application of biological samples to promote the development of biomedical research, MOHW Vice Minister Shih Chung-liang (石崇良) said at the ceremony.
The National Biobank Consortium has successfully signed contracts with 25 biobanks and has a collection of 460,000 pieces of data from biobanks.
It has collected biological information from more than 310,000 volunteers and is expected to become the largest human biological database in Asia, according to Shih.
The National Biobank Consortium has tissue and cell samples from individuals with lung cancer, liver cancer, colorectal cancer, breast cancer, or oral cancer, and those with chronic diseases, Shih said.
The biobanks are also linked with other government databases, such as health insurance declaration data, death records, cancer registration, and rare diseases to enhance data efficiency.
In addition, a COVID-19 biobank was established in February 2020 to collect blood samples from COVID-19 patients to be studied by Taiwan researchers and industries, Shih said.
The COVID-19 biobank has collected 165 blood samples from patients at hospitals across northern, central and southern Taiwan, including patients who tested positive and negative for COVID-19, according to Shih.
The COID-19 biobank has already received eight industrial applications that are mainly using the valuable research resources for the development of rapid antibody detection technologies, Shih added.