The HIRUZ biobank is the central point of contact for biobanking. Our mission is to facilitate translational (biomedical) and clinical research by operating as an open service center for all aspects related to biobanking.
The HIRUZ biobank acts as a service-providing, strategic and collaborative facility for research groups of both UGent and UZ Gent, and manages the central local biobank register of FAMHP accredited biobanks.
HIRUZ Biobank has built up the necessary expertise and know-how regarding “biobanking”. We manage a central state-of-the-art biobank facility at Campus UZ Gent, where samples can be stored to a high standard in the context of scientific research.
Dr. Elke Berneel
The HIRUZ biobank can offer support with:
- The ethical and legal framework for biobanks in Belgium
- Starting up biobank projects: when applying for funding, for further practical elaboration and operational actions
- High-quality biobanking: working in accordance with European/internationally accepted standards (ISO standards, ISBER protocols, etc.)
- Operational support (processing, storage, etc.) of biobanks, via our central biobank facility
The HIRUZ biobank has a high quality and fully monitored biobanking facility, where your samples can be stored and traced throughout their lifespan. We can offer our services for full or partial operational support for your biobanking projects, tailored to your needs.
We provide biobank services (fee-for-service model) for biobanking activities related to academic research projects or to clinical trials. The operational processes in the lab are carried out by trained and certified biobank staff members.
An overview of our services can be found here.
The use of human body material (HBM) for research purposes, is regulated in Belgium by law (“Act on the acquisition and use of human body material (HBM) for medical application to humans or for scientific research.”, 19th of December 2008). This Act applies to the donation, removal, procurement, testing, processing, preservation, storage, distribution, import and use of human body material and of prepared products derived from human body material, including the linked data, intended for scientific research. The Act has entered into force by the publication of the Royal Decree (9th of January 2018), detailing the context of the official registration of biobanks in Belgium.
All biobanks need EC approval for their goals, a clear defined Medical management and official notification at FAGG before performing any activities. Biobanks are given a central role into the HBM flow for research purposes, inducing more transparency and clear sample tracking.
Additional explanatory information relating to the law can be found in the Compendium for biobanks by the FAGG.
The registration of biobanks liaised with Ghent University Hospital and Ghent University, is centrally coordinated by HIRUZ biobank. More information regarding the FAGG notification, can be found in the ‘decision tree for registering a biobank at FAGG’
Preparing a biobank project or applying for funding?
Multiple guidelines, norms and practical protocols are accessible to all kinds of biobank practices. As central biobank facility, we are liaised with multiple national and international biobank networks and have access to a wide range of collaborators and biobank experts. We can assist with advice on your biobanking projects:
In the application stage:
- Sample flow logistics and analysis
- Budget proposals for funding agencies
- At start-up of collections:
- Advice regarding collection, processing, storage and thawing procedures for human body material (HBM), according to international accepted guidelines
- Advice on collection, processing and storage tubes
- Advice on optimal sample flows: from collection → storage → analysis
By contacting us early, before or in the application stage of your biobank project, the entire biobank flow can be analysed (consent, sample collection, temporary storage and transport of samples, long term storage of samples, needed volumes and quality of the samples for analyses, release of samples…), thus ensuring that the samples and volumes pertained are relevant for the study and that no unknown or unnecessary costs pop up during the project.
Associations and useful links
HIRUZ biobank is a member of
- BBMRI.be (Biobanking and Biomolecular Research Infrastructure of Belgium)
- BBMRI.ERIC (Biobanking and Biomolecular Research Infrastructure – European Research Infrastructure Consortium
- BVT (the Belgian Virtual Tumorbiobank)
- ISBER (International Society for Biorepositories and Environmental Repositories)
- ESBB (European and Middle Eastern Society for Biopreservation and Biobanking)
- Findmyassay.com is a free, simple and user-friendly tool developed by the Integrated Biobank of Luxembourg that helps you identify relevant assays to qualify or annotate your clinical samples and ensure they are suitable for their intended downstream purpose.
- Frequently asked questions from Biobank donors. The document written by the European Cancer Patient Coalition provides answers on frequently asked questions from Biobank donors.