Re-contacting part of the biobankprocess
Can you imagine discovering in the biobank data something that the donor might want to know, but re-contacting is not allowed? Ever wanted to conduct clinical research on individuals harboring a specific variant, but such a possibility was not part of the consent process? A strategy employed in Finland has solved these issues and this will benefit all the parties involved.
Who can be re-contacted?
When donors give consent to their sample being used for research purposes, they are also asked if the biobank may re-contact them. The consent rate for re-contacting is nearly 100%, as consenting to being re-contacted has the potential to benefit the donor as well.
When is contacting a donor the right call?
A typical case in which a donor may be re-contacted would be a situation where a genetic abnormality has been discovered. With the newly discovered information the donor may be helped with an existing issue, or an illness could even be prevented from developing.
Another typical re-contacting situation is a situation in which a research group is looking for a specific type of donor, such as middleaged, diabetic, white men. Or even a more specifically: a donor who has been detected to harbor a genetic variant relating to a new drug development project. The option that the biobank re-contacts the donors allows researchers to more efficiently target their invitations (as opposed to methods like ads on bulletin boards), and thus make research easier and more cost-efficient. This is a major advantage, which has the potential to benefit the whole field of medical research.
Finally, a donor may be contacted if the research group needs to know more about the donor. For example, researchers may want to know detailed information of their lifestyle.
Re-contacting is shaping the future of research
The possibility of re-contacting sample donors may seem like a simple change of routine, but it has the power to have a great impact on biobank research. It benefits sample donors, researchers and the entire field of medical research in multiple ways.