The Bridging Biobanking and Biomedical Research across Europe and Africa (B3Africa) workshop, hosted by MRC Unit The Gambia successfully completed on Wednesday 13, April 2016 at Kairaba Beach Hotel. The broad objective of the workshop was to identify legal and ethical issues that apply in Biobanking and to define the regulatory framework to be applied within an Information Technology (IT) platform that will be developed for the B3Africa project.
The three-day meeting attracted over 18 international participants from African and European institutions, including B3Africa project partners, ‘Use Case’ institutes, MRCG Researchers and members of The Gambia Government/MRCG Joint Ethics Committee (EC). Day one of the workshop was dedicated to the introduction of biobanking concepts, information data management, eB3Kit (out-of-the-box informatics solution) and the Ethical Legal Social Issues (ELSI) that will impact on the project. Ethics Committee from four different countries (South Africa, The Gambia, Ghana and Nigeria), presented a review of how they are governed at a National level.
Discussions by the project partners centred on defining applicable minimum content of a general informed consent document, the requirements for ethical approval within the project, and how issues relating to the exchange of samples and data and rights of the donors and study participants would be addressed. The outcome from these discussions highlighted key factors that will determine the sustainability of the project and presented ideas for bridging gaps between European and African research groups. In addition, selected members of the Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs Biobank) and Cohort Building Network (BCnet) Initiative will benefit from the eB3Kit, such as Breast Care International, Ghana; National Cancer Institute, Lithuania; Wroclaw Research Centre ELT in Poland, and the MRC Unit The Gambia.
To end the meeting, participants were introduced to MRCG’s Biobank and taken on a tour of The Unit’s facilities. Overall, it was a successful visit, as all collaborators were impressed by the infrastructure and the in-house capacity for the delivery of high-quality science.