Storage policies and use of the Danish Newborn Screening Biobank
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After routine newborn screening, residual dried blood spot samples (DBSS) are stored at −20°C in the Danish Newborn Screening Biobank (NBS-Biobank), which contains DBSS from virtually all newborns in Denmark since 1982—about 1.8 million samples. The purpose of the storage is: (1) diagnosis and treatment of congenital disorders including documentation, repeat testing, quality assurance, statistics and improvement of screening methods; (2) diagnostic use later in infancy after informed consent; (3) legal use after court order; (4) the possibility of research projects after approval by the Scientific Ethical Committee System in Denmark, The Danish Data Protection Agency and the NBS-Biobank Steering Committee. The operation and use of the NBS-Biobank has until recently been regulated by an executive order of 1993 from the Danish Ministry of Health. The Ethical Council, the Central Scientific Ethical Committee and the National Board of Health were also involved in the regulations. These regulations have now been replaced by detailed general operational guidelines for biobanks in Denmark according to Acts on Processing of Personal Data, Patient’s Rights, Health 546/2005 and the Biomedical Research Ethics Committee System. No specific Act on biobanks per se has been made in Denmark, but the new regulations and guidelines make the operations of the Danish NBS-Biobank even more clear-cut and safe. The Danish NBS-Biobank has been used in several research projects for aetiological studies of a number of disorders, recently employing new sensitive multiplex technologies and genetic analyses utilizing whole-genome amplified DNA.
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