Researchers banking on getting your thoughts. Voice your opinion for your chance to win!

Researchers banking on getting your thoughts. Voice your opinion for your chance to win!

Enter the survey on Biobanking in Tasmania for your chance to win a $500 Visa gift card!

Enter the survey on Biobanking in Tasmania for your chance to win a $500 Visa gift card! Visit: www.tasbiobankproject.com

Menzies Research Institute Tasmania, an institute of the University of Tasmania, is calling for the public to voice their opinion on a Tasmanian biobank, to inform an ongoing research project.

The biobank community consultation, officially launched today, is a collaboration between Menzies and the Centre of Law and Genetics (CLG) based in the Faculty of Law at the University of Tasmania.

The community consultation includes two surveys; one is standard multiple choice style and the other is a blog-style. The surveys seek community input on how to run biobanks and how best to look after people's samples and information.

These surveys build on the recent community deliberation event, held over two successive weekends. This event involved 25 Tasmanians of diverse backgrounds, discussing issues regarding biobanks and providing recommendations for policy and governance.

A biobank is a place where samples of human tissue are stored, like blood or saliva. It also stores personal information about the donor and their medical history, such as whether they have children, exercise or smoke.

Together, the collections of tissue and information make it possible for researchers to undertake a whole range of research projects that otherwise would not be possible. For example, researchers can use the tissue and information stored in a biobank to learn about diseases such as cancer and diabetes, medical procedures like organ transplants and many other health problems.

Professor Don Chalmers says the new project aims to understand and further investigate public opinion on the complex issue of biobanking in Tasmania.

​"Biobanking involves lots of human samples and personal information all stored in one place. It makes conducting research more efficient. It costs less money to obtain samples and the researchers have them on hand, ready to use, when they start their projects. This means that more information can be learned, more quickly," Professor Chalmers explains.

​​"However, it is not quite as simple as researchers just taking the sample and using it. There must be protections for the use of the samples and for the participants who donated the samples. Biobanking raises many ethical and legal issues. It is essential that the community is consulted about biobanking."

 

The surveys are open to anyone aged 18 years and over and will be online for three months.

The results of these Tasmanian community consultations will help inform national debates and policy making on biobanking.

All participants who take part in the surveys go into the draw to win a $500 Visa Gift Card.

Menzies' Director, Professor Tom Marwick encourages the Tasmanian public to take part and have their opinions heard.

"The Tasmanian community is very supportive of our work and this is another great opportunity for people to become involved in our research," Professor Marwick says.

"Using human samples and personal information raises some complicated questions, which is why getting community input on how to run biobanks is so important. We hope to receive a wide range of responses from a variety of people."

Biobanks exist all over the world, including Australia. In Tasmania, they exist only on a very small scale and are specific to selected researchers and diseases.

People who want to join the discussion are encouraged to do fill in one or both of the online surveys that can be found at www.tasbiobankproject.com

Information Released by:

Fiona Horwood, Communications Manager

Phone: 6226 7751 Mobile: 0409 357 384

Email: Fiona.Horwood@menzies.utas.edu.au

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