about us

Background

The use of human biological specimens in medicine is of great public and professional interest. The diagnosis of most medical disorders is severely hampered by the absence of reliable biomarkers that can be measured prior to the disease development or for the purpose of improved diagnosis, performing follow up or predicting outcome. Furthermore, there is a gap between the technological advances in science allowing for precise and comprehensive ‘omics’ analysis and our ability to apply this technology in a wide population. This partly as a result of the lack of population based studies for biomarker development or utilization.

We have established the Negev BioBank (NBB), a high quality repository for biological specimens that will operate as the first large-scale, population-based biological archive in Israel. The NBB is a joint initiative of the Soroka University Medical Center (SUMC) and the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) under the supervision of Research Authority at SUMC, together with Prof. Jacob Moran-Gilad, Scientific Director of the NBB and Ayelet Pulbernis, NBB Project Manager.  NBB will take advantage of the unique organizational structure of the Negev’s healthcare system incorporating inpatient and outpatient medical data with biological sampling. SUMC is one of the largest hospitals in Israel, and the only tertiary hospital serving the entire Negev area. The Negev is characterized by an ethnically diverse population and socioeconomic and health disparities, which create valuable research opportunities that are expected to benefit both science and the health of the population in the region. Moreover, SUMC jointly operates with community primary care system as part of Clalit Health Services Southern District. This allows an unprecedented access to all inpatient and outpatient medical records with negligible attrition rate.

SUMC and its Research Authority (Head: Prof. Victor Novack) together with Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have identified NBB as a flagship scientific project. The NBB will have the dedicated facility within the Adelis Medical Research Building to be built on the SUMC campus (fully funded project).  NBB leadership has both scientific and operational track records (Prof. Novack, Prof. Moran-Gilad). Creating and supporting population biobank requires extensive funding that usually comes for the governmental bodies (see Obama Personalized Medicine Initiative in USA). Yet, operation of the successful biobank in Southern Israel can be cost efficient due to the unique structure of its health system, mainly: single provider of the in-hospital care (SUMC), one insurer covering more than 70% of the population (Clalit), detailed electronic medical records.    

The NBB operates in several SUMC departments in accordance with the Israel Collaborative Biorepository for Research (ICBR-MIDGAM). MIDGAM is a non-profit organization representing a national Israeli infrastructure for biomedical research. Its administration offices are located at the Weizmann Institute. The organization includes four Israeli medical centers: Hadassah Medical Center, Rambam Health Care Campus, Sheba Academic Medical Center and Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, all of them are working as biobanking sites. Soroka University Medical Center has recently joined MIDGAM as its fifth hospital member. MIDGAM supports biobanking initiatives by providing the regulatory and operational environment on behalf of the Israeli Ministry of Health and other stakeholders.

First and foremost the NBB will allow for the provision of the personalized care to the population of Southern Israel. Secondly, the NBB will be the main go-to project allowing researchers from Israel and abroad access to the rich patient level data (of course under the appropriate laws and regulations). The NBB will be also a game changer for SUMC in recruiting outstanding young physicians to develop clinical and scientific career in the Negev.

We have established the Negev BioBank (NBB), a high quality repository for biological specimens that will operate as the first large-scale, population-based biological archive in Israel.

Vision

The NBB’s vision is to collect, handle and store tissues, blood samples, and other biological specimens obtained from patient cohorts admitted to SUMC for further analyses, thereby creating a true population-based biobank.

Following 4 years of the
regulatory discussion, we have established the Negev BioBank (NBB), a high quality repository for biological specimens that will operate as the first large-scale, population-based biological archive in Israel.

The NBB is a joint initiative of the Soroka University Medical Center (SUMC) and the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) under the supervision of Research Authority at SUMC, together with Prof. Jacob Moran-Gilad, Scientific Director of the NBB and Noa Hazut, NBB Project Manager.

NBB will combine biological data with clinical data and data on environmental pollution for each enrolled subject.

NBB will have a dedicated facility within the Andreu Deloro Research Building.

NBB is employing a dedicated team of 10 who enroll the subjects, collect and process the specimens and the data.

Following the regulatory process there is no need for an additional MOH Helsinki approval for any type of research, but just an approval of Soroka Helsinki.

NBB takes advantage of the unique organizational structure of the Negev’s healthcare system incorporating inpatient and outpatient medical data with biological sampling. SUMC is one of the largest hospitals in Israel, and the only tertiary hospital serving the entire Negev area, also providing community primary care services to the southern district. The Negev is characterized by an ethnically diverse population and socioeconomic and health disparities, which create valuable research opportunities that are expected to benefit both science and the health of the population in the region.

The NBB has two main types of the biobanking arrangements
disease- or project-specific BioBanks
and population based BioBanks based BioBanks in the following fields:

Obstetrics and Gynecology (population BioBanking)

Disease specific biobanking (see below).