Semmelweis University has been one of the leading biomedical institutions of higher education in Hungary and Central Europe for the last 250 years. The University today is handling 2.5 million patient visits each year within nearly 40 departments. Research, development, and innovation (R&D&I) take place in the areas of living natural sciences, and social sciences. Within these, life science R&D&I activities are the most prominent. R&D&I results quickly make their way into clinical and health sciences as well as into the University’s educational activities and curriculum. The synergies also manifest themselves in the various specialized networks operating at the University (e.g. nanotechnology, bio-imaging, genomics, biobank), as well as in the research university modules (diagnostics, technology, therapy, prevention) and the dynamic collaborations which have been developing within these areas. The Semmelweis Biobank Network was established in 2010 with the goal of efficiently using the synergies that occur in patient care, education, research/development and a wide spectrum of health care areas all under University premises.
The Biobank Network at Semmelweis University consists of 14 (26) institutes and 15 (27) biobanks. The aggregate sample size for these institutes currently stands circa 100.000, registering over 10 000 new samples annually. Sample types vary from DNA, RNA, tumor, muscle and nerve tissue, fibroblast and clinical data. Areas covered by the Biobank Network include: cardiology, neurology, psychiatry, hematology, nephrology, rheumatology, ophthalmology, endocrinology, dermatology. The University has a Rare Disease network with a large biobank. The most recent member of the network is the ONKOBANK collacting smaples from 12 departments.
Samples from the Semmelweis Biobank Network have been used in over 60 research projects during the networks existence. A main strategic goal for Semmelweis University is to elevate the role of the Biobank Network both internally and externally. A key element in achieving this goal is successfully coordinating the establishment of the Hungarian National Node of the Biobanking and BioMolecular Resources Research Infrastructure ((BBMRI- ERIC) and joining as a full member. The University is also in pursuit of offering commercialized services based on the Biobank Network, tightening the relationship with other players from the biobanking field such as industry, biobankers and other private sector parties. Initiatives set in motion are all in hope of making significant contributions to biomedical research and to the evolution of new treatment methods.