Biobank to add biological sample space

The biobank is investing between 300 million yuan and 500 million yuan (US$48-$79 million) to build a building in Shanghai's Zhangjiang Hi-tech Park.
Biobank to add biological sample space

Hundreds of thousands of biological samples are stored at the Shanghai Zhangjiang Biobank, which plans to raise its capacity to store another 50 million samples in the coming years.

Shanghai Zhangjiang Biobank, the largest of its kind in China, plans to add storage for 50 million human biological samples such as cells, blood and organ tissues in the coming years to meet robust domestic demand, it told Shanghai Daily today.

The biobank, which stores the samples for research use, is investing between 300 million yuan and 500 million yuan (US$48-$79 million) to construct a building in Shanghai’s Zhangjiang Hi-tech Park to store the 50 million samples, said Ye Yang, its chief operating officer.

The expansion in storage from the current 15 million samples will “help us meet the fast growing demand, especially after we opened the service to the public last year,” Ye said.

The biobank started storage services for the public in October last year to enable residents to “save” their organs and cells for decades, which can be taken out in the future to help cure diseases or to be used for research.

So far it has stored nearly 7,000 samples for the public, “and the number of orders is rising fast, much faster than that from hospitals,” Ye said

The demand from the public has been surging since the service started and there has been rapid growth for blood and tumor cells storage, he said.

“Alongside stem cells to help cure diseases in the future, people also hope their cancer or tumor cells can be saved, which may help scientists find ways to cure (related) diseases,” Ye said.

As well as growing its storage capacity, the biobank plans to build 10 to 15 branches across China to tap the surging demand.

The biobank started in 2016 by collaborating with hospitals and institutes to help them store biological samples or conduct joint research.

It has stored over 400,000 samples for these institutions.

The biobank will participate in the upcoming sixth China (Shanghai) International Technology Fair from April 19 to 21 at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention Center “to help the public learn our services,” Ye said.

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