Biobanks in the Era of Digital Medicine
The ability to store tissue and liquid biosamples that are fit for purpose over a long period of time is a prerequisite for forward‐looking biomedical research. First and foremost, biobanking ensures that these samples can be reliably analyzed with up‐to‐date (for example, “OMICs”) technologies long after the time of their collection. In addition, biobanking allows baseline information about the sample donors to be related to other, prospectively ascertained health parameters (e.g., from population‐based cohort studies) or long‐term clinical outcomes (e.g., from electronic health records (EHRs) or from self‐reports). Therefore, biobanking with strict quality standards is an essential requirement, not only for the development of new diagnostic and prognostic markers, but also for gaining an improved pathophysiological understanding of disease development. At the same time, our societies are currently undergoing comprehensive digitalization, which will likely confront biobanks with both new opportunities and new challenges.