Photo: Jānis Kloviņš, Chairman of the Scientific Council of the Latvian Biomedicine and Study Center
Biobanks, whose main role is to store biological samples and data for research and treatment purposes, have become a key infrastructure in biomedical research and healthcare. Biobanks provide storage of biological samples, such as blood, tissue and DNA, which are usually supplemented with detailed clinical and demographic data. These samples are very valuable to researchers who aim to discover the genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that cause or contribute to disease. By offering a centralized repository of diverse samples, biobanks facilitate large-scale, population-based studies, allowing researchers to find correlations, generate hypotheses, and develop new treatments. Without biobanks, such research is not possible today.
Biobanks are also useful in the development of new diagnostic tools. By comparing samples from healthy individuals to patients with specific conditions, researchers can identify biomarkers – molecules that indicate the presence of disease. These biomarkers can then be used to develop diagnostic tests that are more accurate and less invasive than traditional methods.