2017 Annual Report – IBBL confirms its sustained growth

Luxembourg, 4 June 2018 – IBBL (Integrated BioBank of Luxembourg) is pleased to publish today its 2017 annual report. The biobank celebrated a series of major achievements in terms of quality, national and international partnerships, as well as biospecimen research. In November 2017, IBBL saw the relocation to its new facilities in Dudelange, which will unlock a wealth of new opportunities.

A move for the better

As anticipated, IBBL relocated its entire staff and operations from Luxembourg City to a permanent location in Dudelange in November 2017. The newly built facilities boast a 2,000 m2 floor area and a storage capacity of about 5 million samples, allowing IBBL to expand its service offering. “The transition was seamless, with no significant service interruptions and no damage to any of IBBL’s samples or equipment”, states Dominic Allen, Chief Operating Officer at IBBL.

A pioneer in quality and standardisation

IBBL has been contributing to the development of international biobanking technical standards to support the quality of biospecimens and reproducibility of research results. In 2017, the biobank witnessed several milestones, including the approval of the ISO/DIS 20387 biobanking standard draft and the conception of the draft ISO/AWI 21899 norm. The prolongation of IBBL’s ISO 17025 accreditation, which had been suspended voluntarily after the move, was confirmed on May 28 2018.

Diagnosing sample ‘health’

As a truly integrated biobank, IBBL carries out biospecimen research for the benefit of the research community, its partners and clients. This year, IBBL’s laboratory department identified two cytokines as markers to characterise the time elapsed prior to serum and plasma samples being centrifuged, providing a robust and accurate quality control tool to diagnose their ‘biological integrity’.

Colorectal cancer: a national priority

IBBL has been collaborating with all major Luxembourgish research players in the biomedical field. In 2017, the SOCS (Suppressor Of Cytokine Signaling) project – a partnership between IBBL, the Life Sciences Research Unit of the University of Luxembourg, the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH), the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) and the National Health Laboratory (LNS) – led to the discovery of a new prognostic biomarker for colorectal cancer, published in a renowned journal. Its identification relied on an independent cohort of colorectal cancer patients, set up by IBBL in close cooperation with the other partners.

The EU External Quality Assessment (EQA) programme provider

In 2017, IBBL joined the consortium of SPIDIA4P, an EU-funded initiative seeking to bring about the standardisation of the pre-analytical workflows applied to personalised medicine. As the internationally renowned sole provider of Proficiency Testing (PT) programmes for biospecimens, IBBL is leading the development and implementation of External Quality Assessment (EQA) schemes to assess the efficiency of sample preparation methods.

Keeping its promises

IBBL has increasingly ambitious plans for the future. In 2018, the samples currently hosted in various partner organisations will be relocated to IBBL, due to the additional capacity. Moreover, the activities to strengthen its European presence through new collaborations and participation in EU consortia will continue. Finally, IBBL will be pursuing its accreditation and certification efforts to maintain its position as a quality-driven biobank.

The full report, as well as the accompanying digital version featuring additional contents, is available on https://www.ibbl.lu/annualreport/