Victorian biobank now globally recognised

Published: 4 April 2022

Victoria is now home to a state-of-the art and globally accredited biobank featuring blood samples, plasma, saliva, tumour tissues, breast milk and mouth swabs, as the Victorian Government continues its investment in medical research.

Biobanking Victoria is Australia’s first industry standard biobanking facility, poised to make critical discoveries and develop new treatments.

Already housing 4.5 million biological specimens from six clinical trials, the $10 million facility developed by the Monash University School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health is backed with $1.5 million from the Victorian Government’s Future Industries Fund granted in 2018.

The facility is the first in Australia to be accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA), cementing Victoria’s status as a world leader in medical research.

Developed in collaboration with Rutgers University Cell and DNA Repository (RUCDR) Infinite Biologics in New Jersey, the biobank will propel the advancement of innovative new treatments, saving the lives of people in Victoria and around the world.

Biobanking Victoria has been gradually collecting samples since 2018 and is undertaking many studies to identify some of the world’s rarest diseases. A recent breast cancer study brought together samples from 30,000 Australian women, revealing unknown genetic mutations in women with and without a family history.

Mrs Gerda Evans, 73, knows the importance of biobanking. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 40 and within a couple of years, several other family members were also diagnosed.

Mrs Evans has long been involved with Monash research studies as she knows that her stored blood samples are checked for genetic mutations as they are isolated.

Operating at international standards, the facility will be used by epidemiologists and clinical researchers for precision medicine, genomics and clinical trials.

To keep Victoria at the forefront of innovation in the health technologies sector, the government has made investments including $5 million for the Victorian COVID-19 biobank, $400 million for the new Australian Institute for Infectious Disease and $50 million for mRNA Victoria to fast-track local mRNA vaccine manufacturing.