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Rheumatology Biobank (RheumaBank)

The Rheumatology Biobank (RheumaBank), established in 2014 at the SC Immunorheumatology and Tissue Regeneration Laboratory, collects and manages blood samples from patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

RheumaBank is part of the Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute Biological Resources Center (CRB), together with the Genetic Biobank-BIOGEN and the Biobank of Tumors-BIOTUM. CRB is under the Institute Scientific Direction groups and coordinates the three biobanks recognized and approved by the Institute, defined as service units, non-profit, for the systematic collection, conservation, management, and distribution of biological material.

Definition of biobank

The term "Biobank" is referred to non-profit service units, responsible, following regulatory requirements, for an efficient way to collect and store biological samples (such as blood, tissue, cells and DNA) and related data to be used to improve diagnosis and/or research. Biobanks therefore represent an important resource for every Research and Treatment Institute and for the entire scientific community.

Analisi di pannelli di fattori solubili sierici

Establishment of the Rheumatology Biobank (RheumaBank)

The Rheumatology Biobank (RheumaBank) was established in 2014 thanks to a research project ("Regional registry-based biobank development and angiogenetic analysis: synergistic strategies driving towards personalized medicine in rheumatoid arthritis management”) funded by the Emilia-Romagna Region-University of Bologna 2013 research grant in collaboration with the Emilia-Romagna Region Rheumatology Units and the patients association AMRER (Association of Rheumatic Diseases of Emilia Romagna). The aim of the project and therefore of the RheumaBank was to collect a large quantity of biological samples to promote high quality basic and clinical research studies on a large scale that can help to learn more about Rheumatoid Arthritis and improve its treatments.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease that affects over 400,000 people in Italy alone (around 2,900,000 patients in Europe) in which the identification of the earliest, most targeted and effective treatment for each patient has been identified as a successful strategy to slow/stop the progression of the disease. The application of this model remains one of the main challenges of clinical practice because although there are several highly effective therapeutic options available that have revolutionized the management of RA, about 30% patients do not respond adequately to treatment.

The Biobank is directly associated with the rheumatological diseases and treatments Registry of the Emilia-Romagna Region, established with the aim of collecting all the clinical and therapeutic data of patients with rheumatoid arthritis in an electronic archive, through the contribution of the Region Rheumatology Centers.

RheumaBank provides services for the collection, processing, storage and distribution of human biological samples and related data, for diagnostic and research purposes.

The biological material stored in the Biobank (serum, plasma, blood) is obtained from a peripheral blood sample which, following the patient's consent, is specifically taken and intended for the Biobank.

To date (2021) it stores blood, serum and plasma samples from more than 1000 RA patients, in special ultra-freezers at -80 ° C, located in a controlled room with limited access.

Reference structure: Medicine and Rheumatology Unit
Head of the biobank: Prof. Francesco Ursini