The objective of this application is to develop a plan towards a full scale H3 Africa Central Biorepository and service center in the Faculty of Science in the University of Stellenbosch in the Division of hematological pathology. In phase 1 we will set up governance, operations and test protocols towards biorepositories for nucleic acids , blood, hematological malignances and cultured stem and mesenchymal cells. This approach builds upon existing infrastructure and capacity for processing the above sample types that exists in this institution. The new approaches that will be evaluated will be room temperature storage of human samples as a sustainable energy efficient approaches .Furthermore, we will evaluate the possibility of automated approaches for sample preparation nucleic acid processing, storage and cryopreservation in order to meet the expected service demands of 100,000 samples a year in phase II. Our proposed approach to create renewable cell lines would be generation of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSC).There are several key challenges to overcome in this approach, although there are several large scale Biorepositories internationally;there are no large human specimen Biorepositories in the African continent, this poses as a challenge to evaluate what is feasible on the African continent. Secondly, to our knowledge there are no proposed method of generating renewable cells used in Africa, therefore it is essential that a thorough evaluation of the feasibility of our approach be conducted. We will convene a panel of experts in the biobanking field to develop an agenda for full scale biorepositories in Phase II. We will bench mark international biorepositories and stem cell biobanks, set up governance that will set the technical as ethical guidelines as well as long term sustainability planning. Furthermore, we will evaluate current biorepository operations at the University of Stellenbosch in the Division of hematological pathology against the industry best practices. Adherence to a set of best practices will be done such as those set by the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). We will develop a Biorepository Informatics Management System (BIMS) for all aspects of biorepository operations with our collaborative bioinformatics center SANBI in Cape Town South Africa. iPSC reprogramming, automation and room temperature biobanking will be with our collaborative center IFASEMB in San Diego California and we will explore the possibility of a partnership between the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine and South Africa to promote an agenda for stem cell and nucleic acid large scale biobanking for studies on the health, diseases and pharmacogenomics of African populations. A common theme in our approach will be stringent governance, harmonization and sustainability

Public Health Relevance

Creation of a full scale biorespository (biobank) will be an important part of scientific capacity building on the African continent and will support large scal genomic studies that will be performed on the continent. These studies and supporting infrastructure are necessary to address the health needs of the continent that is plagued with infectious disease such as HIV/AIDS as well as an ever increasing burden of non-communicable diseases such as Hypertension and cancer. Biorepositories will serve to preserve human samples, harmonize sample collection efforts, a training center for African scientists and a community outreach portal to educate the public about the implications of biobanking and genomics for the health of African populations.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)
Exploratory/Developmental Cooperative Agreement Phase I (UH2)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHG1-HGR-P (M3))
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Peterson, Jane
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Stellenbosch University Tygerberg Campus
South Africa
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de Vries, Jantina; Tindana, Paulina; Littler, Katherine et al. (2015) The H3Africa policy framework: negotiating fairness in genomics. Trends Genet 31:117-9
de Vries, Jantina; Abayomi, Akin; Brandful, James et al. (2014) A perpetual source of DNA or something really different: ethical issues in the creation of cell lines for African genomics research. BMC Med Ethics 15:60
Abayomi, Akin; Christoffels, Alan; Grewal, Ravnit et al. (2013) Challenges of biobanking in South Africa to facilitate indigenous research in an environment burdened with human immunodeficiency virus, tuberculosis, and emerging noncommunicable diseases. Biopreserv Biobank 11:347-54