Austrian biobanks play an important role in medical research, however, there is currently no common legal regulation existing for research biobanks in Austria. Therefore, the Austrian Bioethics Commission published a comprehensive report entitled “Biobanks for Medical Research- Austrian Bioethics Commission” (2007, amended in 2011) which points out the necessity to develop and set up a generally applicable legal framework to ensure the protection of donors of specimens, in particular the rights of self-determination and data protection.
Currently, there are two biobanks in Austria:
(1) Medical University of Graz- Biobank Graz:
it provides services for internal academic research purposes, but also to external academic and industrial partners within the framework of research collaborations. Biobank Graz has been approved by the local ethics committee and the DVR of the Austrian Data Protection Commission. A comprehensive data protection policy has been developed and implemented to protect sample donor privacy. Informed consent has been established, being consistent with existing international guidelines, such as the OECD Guidelines for Biological Resource Centres BRC.
Biobank Graz plays a leading role in the development of an international infrastructure network, the Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure BBMRI, aimed at the achievement of international standardization and harmonization.
(2) Medical University of Vienna- Meduni Wien Biobank:
All projects of the MedUni Wien Biobank need to be conducted according to the ethical standards of the Medical University Vienna. A project can only be initiated if specific criteria on Informed Consent, right to self-determination, transparency, data protection and quality assurance are met and the Ethics Committee has issued a favourable opinion.