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A big step towards personalised medicine: CBmed appointed first Expert Centre of European Biobanks

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Graz (Austria), July 2016 – The Graz based research facility CBmed has been appointed the first European “BBMRI-ERIC Expert Centre/Trusted Partner” (Biobanking and BioMolecular resources Research Infrastructure – European Research Infrastructure Consortium). The aim is to reach quicker results in the biomarker analysis and to improve treatments. With the identification of biomarkers it will be possible to individually treat cancer, metabolic diseases, and inflammations of the single patient.

Pan-European linked research infrastructure

To be able to efficiently search for biological samples for biomarker research a certain infrastructure is necessary. This infrastructure is being provided by the research infrastructure BBMRI-ERIC, which was founded in 2013 and is today’s largest scientific health infrastructure in Europe. Currently BBMRI-ERIC has 19 member states. The European cooperation allows the partners to access biological resources and biomedical installations in order to support efficient and excellent biomolecular and medical research. The “Center For Biomarker Research In Medicine” in Graz, Austria (CBmed GmbH) is linking the scientific expertise of the medical universities of Graz and Vienna to innovative technologies of leading international companies in the fields of pharmacy, diagnostics, and medical technology and therefore helps to improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, metabolic diseases, and inflammations in the future.

The award as “BBMRI-ERIC Expert Centre/Trusted Partner” proves also for future partners that the analysis of samples happens under strict quality control at the labs of CBmed. There is another advantage: “The shipping of medical samples is rather difficult, as the material can suffer under the transport conditions such as fluctuation in temperature and would therefore deliver falsified results. But in case it can be assured that there are the exact same quality criteria and benchmarks for evaluation and survey, then it will suffice to analyze samples at just one expert centre and to only distribute the results. This means a massive improvement and acceleration of the process”, describes Dr. Selma Mautner, who is responsible for research management at CBmed. “The donated samples form a valuable basis for an understanding of diseases that include various clinical symptoms but also a variety of different pathologies. Therefore, it is very important to show the utmost care when dealing with such material. Furthermore, with the introduction of quality criteria and the standardization of the analyzing process the gained data can be compared internationally.”

"Knowing that everyone reacts differently to each treatment, has spread in recent years. Making a personalized, customized treatment of each patient possible, the long-term goal of medical research, "explains Prof. Dr. Thomas Pieber as scientific director of the research center CBmed GmbH. "An important area of research on the way is the analysis of biomarkers that are biologically measurable units such as enzymes, hormones or genes measured in human biological samples."

"We fully explore new methods in our so-called Core Labs as early as possible, to achieve a targeted diagnosis and tailored treatment and gentle as possible for a patient," said Pieber. The Medical University of Vienna is for research purposes next to the Medical University of Graz the ideal location for the new and sixth "Core Lab" of the research center, which specializes in proteomics (analysis of all proteins in a cell) to treat patients at the cutting edge of knowledge. "Personalized medicine" is the main trend of 21st century medicine. New therapies are not drug-centred, but patient-centred applied and developed. The molecular characterization of affected and unaffected tissue plays a decisive role. Therefore, the Medical University of Vienna has great expectations of biomarker with CBmed ", explains Prof. Markus Müller, MD, Rector of the Medical University of Vienna.


Understanding and resolving of subtypes of diseases

The term stratification describes the characterisation of a disease, for example breast cancer, into different subtypes, each of which needs a different treatment. The more detailed the subtype can be characterised, the more targeted a therapy can be developed. There are hundreds of biobanks worldwide that provide their data to partners in research and medicine to identify these types. The larger the set of samples is, the higher the chances are to precisely identify relevant subgroups of patients and the higher is also the probability to recognise statistic patterns. Due to the collaboration of the European biobanks the amount of data is increasing, which also influences the development of personalised medicine. The Medical University of Graz has 30 years of experience for collecting biological samples for research purposes under strict quality control for 30 years. With the support of the National Node BBMRI.at, lead by Prof. Dr. Kurt Zatloukal, CBmed was introduced to BBMRI-ERIC with the aim to develop a methodical platform for biomolecular research collaboration within European biobanks.


BBMRI-ERIC: Expert Centre/Trusted Partner

BBMRI-ERIC Expert Centres represent a novel public-private partnership model1. They are responsible for the analysis of samples in the country of origin under internationally standardized conditions and for the generation of primary data. BBMRI-ERIC Expert Centres integrate pre-competitive public and private research and development activities by providing access not only to biological samples and medical data but also to the broad spectrum of medical and scientific expertise related to the samples, data, and their analysis. It is becoming important to take into account the whole spectrum of medical, scientific and technological issues related to a certain disease. Important issues include the quality of biomolecules extracted from a sample and which features of a disease are actually represented in a biological sample – but also the whole medical context.


CBmed: a "BBMRI-ERIC Expert Centre/Trusted Partner" for biomarker research

By handing over the certificate to the CBmed first European BBMRI ERIC Expert Center by Prof. Dr. Jan-Eric Litton, Director General BBMRI-ERIC, it's official. The appointment as Europe's first "BBMRI-ERIC Expert Center/Trusted Partner" represents a clear commitment to introducing quality standards in the analysis of human samples. “Through the introduction of quality criteria and the standardization of procedures, the data obtained are made internationally comparable - which means an acceleration of research and thus better treatments” emphasized Litton. The research infrastructure BBMRI-ERIC founded in 2013 constitutes the methodical platform for cooperation of European biobanks to support an efficient and excellent biomolecular and medical research.

Litton: BBMRI-ERIC Expert Centres are linked to the Mission of BBMRI-ERIC and I welcome CBmed to this large European Infrastructure as a trusted partner.

Pieber: "It is a great honor and distinction for the CBmed to be the first European 'BBMRI-ERIC Expert Center/Trusted Partner' appointed. We accept this award and the related tasks alike and look forward to the research work in this valuable infrastructure! "


Contact Press CBmed:

DI (FH) Christian Santner, manggei communications

Tobis 3, 8504 Preding, Austria

Tel.: +43 664 88518030



Contact "BBMRI-ERIC Expert Centre/Trusted Partner":

Mag. Andrea Wutte, BBMRI-ERIC

Neue Stiftingtalstrasse 2/B/6, 8010 Graz, Austria

Tel: +43 664 88 72 18 76




Editor's note

BBMRI-ERIC (www.bbmri-eric.eu)

On 3 December 2013, BBMRI was officially awarded the Community legal framework for a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC). This specific legal form is designed to facilitate the joint establishment and operation of research infrastructures of European interest. The ERIC status allows pulling together biobanks and biomolecular resources into a pan-European facility and providing access to collections of partner biobanks and biomolecular resources, their expertise and services on a non-economic basis.

BBMRI-ERIC shall establish, operate and develop a pan-European distributed research infrastructure of biobanks and biomolecular resources in order to facilitate the access to resources as well as facilities and to support high quality biomolecular and medical research. BBMRI-ERIC operates on a non-economic basis.

BBMRI-ERIC is set up as a distributed research infrastructure in most, if not all European Member States. BBMRI-ERIC consists of 18 Member States and one International Organisation, making it one of the largest research infrastructures in Europe.

Members: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.


Observer Countries: Cyprus, Poland, Switzerland, Turkey, IARC/WHO






1Van Ommen G-JB, et al., BBMRI-ERIC as a resource for pharmaceutical and life science industries: the development of biobank-based Expert Centres. Eur J Hum Genet-. 2015;23(7):893–900. http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/ejhg.2014.235