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About BBJ

About BBJ and Organizational Structure

Aim of BioBank Japan

A biobank is a specialized system designed for the storage and management of biological samples, including blood and tissue, generously donated by patients and the public for research purposes. In contrast to a financial institution, a biobank gathers and preserves biological specimens along with associated clinical and lifestyle information for use in research. These resources are provided to studies that meet specific screening criteria, thereby contributing significantly to the advancement of medical research and the generation of valuable research outcomes.

BioBank Japan (BBJ), established in 2003 as a pioneer biobank in Japan, is a disease-oriented biobank that collects and stores samples and data from approximately 270,000 patients diagnosed with 51 target diseases. These samples and data are valuable research resources for research aimed at biomarker discovery and the development of new clinical and therapeutic approaches.

Our aim is to contribute to the realization of healthy future for every one of us by promoting usage of these research resources for the advancement of genome research and genomic medicine.

Please refer to the following webpage for detailed information on BBJ’s collection of samples and data to date.

Our history

Research Resources held by BBJ

BBJ collected biological samples and clinical information from approximately 270,000 patients through cooperative medical institutions nationwide during the first three phases of 2003-2017. Those samples and data are stored under full security measures, with names and other personal information removed and IDs attached for research purposes. BBJ is able to provide these samples and data to the broad research community; research institutions, companies, and other researchers who aim to realize genomic medicine and develop new diagnostic and therapeutic methods.

BBJ’s samples and data are donated from patients diagnosed with 51 common diseases such as cancer, dyslipidemia, and diabetes (as of 2023.12). These samples can be analyzed in conjunction with clinical information on each disease. Research outcomes using these samples and information/data are generated daily and published in Nature and other high impact scientific journals and shared by scientific communities globally, thereby contributing to the development of genome research not only in Japan but also in the world.

BioSamples and Data Collections of BBJ

(2024.4.1現在)

Collaborative Patients

270,000 patients
51 diseases

DNA

800,000 tubes
270,000patients)

Serum

1,700,000 tubes
200,000patients)

Genome Data / Information
etc.

WGS: 14,000 patients
SNP: 270,000 patients
Clinical Information:
270,000 patients

To be expanded further!

Organizational Structure

BioBank Japan (BBJ) was established at the Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo in 2003 as a national project to realize personalized medicine based on individual genetic information. The BBJ consists of the Office of BioBank Japan, the Sample Bank (DNA, Serum), as well as Genome/Clinical Information Databases, and the BBJ Management Committee, which oversees the BBJ’s whole operation.

About BBJ Management Committee

The BBJ is managed by the BBJ Management Committee, comprising Director, Head of the BBJ Office, and Member Researchers.”

Greetings from Director

Member Researchers

Under the management of the BBJ Management Committee, there is the Office of BioBank Japan, the Sample Bank (DNA and Serum), and the Genome and Clinical Information Database. The Sample Bank holds approximately 270,000 DNA and 200,000 serum samples, as well as DNA, plasma, and tumor tissues from cooperative banking, all stored strictly according to ISO protocols. Additionally, BBJ offers contract storage services for samples from external research institutions and companies.

BBJ’s Biological Sample Storage Facilities

BioBank Japan stores biological samples, which are valuable research resources donated by participants (patients), in sample storages equipped with the latest security systems under strict control.
Each storage room where samples are stored can only be entered by specific personnel. The computer that controls the entry and exit of the warehouse is also accessible only to those who have been registered with a vein authentication device.

4℃ ± 2℃
Fully automatic system
Capacity: 2 million tubes

-150°C
Liquid nitrogen tanks: 58
Capacity: 3.34 million tubes

More about the sample storage facilities

Other Organizations

The BBJ’s Sample and Data Access Committee is an organization composed of internal and external experts. When researchers from academic research institutions or private companies who aim to realize tailor-made medicine or develop new diagnostic or therapeutic methods wish to use BBJ’s samples and data, their requests are reviewed by the Sample and Data Access Committee. In addition, an Advisory Board consisting of experts from external organizations and an ELSI Committee have been organized to give advice and recommendations on BBJ based on their respective knowledge and expertise.

Cooperative Medical Institutions

BBJ has collected biological samples and data from patients who collaborated in the study with the generous cooperation of 12 medical institutions nationwide since the project’s inception in 2003.

 12 Cooperative Medical Institutes
Osaka Medical Center for Cancer and Cardiovascular DiseasesThe Cancer Institute Hospital of JFCR
 Juntendo UniversityTokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology
Nippon Medical SchoolNihon University
Iwate Medical UniversityTokushukai Hospitals
Shiga University of Medical ScienceFukujuji Hospital
Osaka Medical CenterAso Iizuka Hospital

Other Cooperating Organizations

To promote the utilization of data obtained from the analysis of biological samples, genome data and omics data are made publicly available in public databases such as the NBDC Human Database and the Genome Restriction Sharing Database (AGD) by DBCLS. BBJ also collaborates with the Japan Clinical Oncology Group (JCOG), the Japan Children’s Cancer Group (JCCG), and the National Hospital Organization (NHO) to store samples collected by these groups.
BBJ are also collaborating with Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Okayama University, and Kanazawa University and accept the samples and data.

Collaboration among biobanks

BBJ is collaborating with domestic biobanks such as the Tohoku Medical Megabank Organization and the National Center BioBank Network (NCBN), a national center biobank network project involving six National Centers for Biomedical Research and Innovation (NC), through a cross-bank search system and other means to create a framework for users to use samples and data on across the banks.

Biobank Cross Search System