The Valleywise Health Biobank was created by a grant from the Arizona Biomedical Research Commission (ABRC). The purpose of this grant was to foster biobanking in Arizona by developing an online biospecimen resource: the Arizona Biospecimen Locator (ABL). Three member biobanks are in the consortium: Valleywise Health, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center and Phoenix Children’s Hospital. The ABL has an online interface for researchers to request samples from the consortium and plans are in place for creation of an online specimen catalog. In addition to formation of the ABL, the grant has provided funds for purchase of equipment and structural changes to the Biobank space in the lower level of Valleywise Health Medical Center.
The Valleywise Health Biobank has the capacity to collect a variety of biological samples that are critical for biomedical research, including diseased and normal tissues, blood, saliva, urine and stool. Specimens may be collected and distributed based on funded prospective studies or may be banked for future specimen requests. Valleywise Health maintains its own collections, but as part of the biobank consortium, agrees to include some of its specimens in the online ABL catalog for use by external researchers. In its role as a safety net hospital, Valleywise Health is in a unique position to provide high quality specimens from a racially diverse group that is suited for research that recognizes and aims to prevent health disparities.
Valleywise Health formed the Biobank Advisory Committee (see table below) to discuss the progress of biobank collection activities at Valleywise Health and to ensure that study planning allows for a good use of biobank personnel time and supply resources. The Committee is made up of key Valleywise Health researchers, who can guide the future of biobanking activities at Valleywise Health.