New rules for biobanking
Berlin – The German Bioethics Council has proposed to establish new rules to secure sensitive personal data stored in biobanks of human specimens. The new rules proposed to be applied internationally foresee the creation of a so-called ‚biobank-secret‘, that prohibits any exchange of data and samples to non-scientists and limits access to those who work with biobanks. It also foresees that an ethics committee must give its permission before data are de- anonymized, i.e. to recontact patients or to work with personalised data. The 26 bioethics experts also recommend the implementation of standard operating procedures and to keep records for biobanking. Finally, the experts call for the creation of a publicly accessible biobank registry that gives general information on a particular biobank to the public. German researchers welcomed the move to create more freedom to operate while increasing data security. In contrast to the US, most European biobanks are only accessible to registered users with a password or pin code.