The Human Biomaterials Resource Centre (HBRC), part of the Advanced Therapies Facility at the University of Birmingham, was established in 2010. It provides simple and efficient access to high quality human biomaterials and data for the purposes of biomedical research, and also offers sample management and tissue-based analytical services.
The HBRC seeks to establish excellence in biobanking. The prime objective is to facilitate high quality translational research and enable a better understanding of disease pathology, improvements in diagnosis and treatment, and a better outcome for all.
The HBRC aims to provide a gold-standard service trusted by donors and the research community alike. The facility has ethical approval to collect and distribute samples across a wide range of research themes both in academia and industry (North West - Haydock Research Ethics Committee; Ref 15/NW/0079) and operates under HTA research licence 12358. Sample collection pathways are well-established across the West Midlands in many disease settings. Through its links with the NHS, the HBRC has access to a vast range of clinical and pathology expertise. The competent workforce and well-equipped facility also enable the HBRC to deliver high quality sample management services.
Over 300 research projects have been approved to access samples and data through the HBRC since 2010. Additionally, the HBRC hosts material, or provides services to, more than 25 research studies and clinical trials running under project-specific governance. The facility was the central collection point for the West Midland Genomics Medicine Centre during the recent 100k Genomes Project.
Although the majority of the client base are academic researchers from the University of Birmingham, the HBRC also works with, and warmly welcomes, national and international collaborations with external academic and commercial partners.
Effective working relationships with the majority of NHS Trusts within the West Midlands (at the level of operative theatres, wards, clinics, and histopathology departments) provide a valuable bridge between researchers and patients.
Samples, collected and processed from patients over a wide range of disease settings (and healthy volunteers), and comprise materials which are waste, surplus to diagnosis, or collected bespoke for an individual research group.
The HBRC offers an extensive range of services delivered to laboratory GCP standards including the derivation of blood and body fluids, fixation and paraffin embedding of tissue, tissue sectioning and automated staining, TMA construction, automated immunohistochemistry and in-situ hybridization, automated digital imaging and image analysis.
The HBRC is self-funded, with running costs met through a cost recovery model which is proportional to the level and nature of the service delivered.
The HBRC supports multiple basic/translational research projects under its own generic ethical approval, as well as many CTIMP/non-CTIMP studies running under project-specific regulatory approvals.
Themes currently supported include cancer in many settings, rare diseases, neurodegenerative disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiac disease, diabetes, and renal medicine.