Indian Journal of Pathology and Microbiology
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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 65  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 218-225

Brain banking in India: Relevance in current day practice

Department of Neuropathology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
S K Shankar
Former Emeritus Professor, Department of Neuropathology, Founder and Former Co-Ordinator, Human Brain Tissue Repository (Brain Bank), National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore - 560 029, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijpm.ijpm_113_22

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Biobanks are set to become the norm. The explosion of new and powerful technologies like genomics and other multiomics has catapulted research from individual laboratories to multi-institutional and international partners. Today, with increasing life span, and the rising incidence of brain diseases, Brain Banks have become an invaluable source for unravelling the pathogenesis of several brain disorders, and develop effective therapies. The article briefly reviews the evolution of brain banking, rise of global networks, with a brief overview of steps involved from donor recruitment, protocols of processing, storage, annotation, and tissue distribution. The ethics of biobanking is one of the most controversial issues in bioethics, the key issues being consent, confidentiality, and commercialisation. Regulatory authorities in different countries and in India, the Indian Council of Medical Research has taken a lead to formulate new ethical guidelines for research involving human participants protecting rights, and well-being of research participants. Although brain banks have been established in the 1960s, in India, the first Brain Bank was established in 1995 at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru. Now a network with two more Brain banks is being established in the country. The challenges and benefits of establishing the first Brain Bank as a National Research Facility in India is shared. For optimising available resources and promote brain banking, it is essential for medical professionals, and the public to perceive the crucial advantage in conversion of biological waste into invaluable resources for neuroscience. This will be the greatest “gift of hope” that we can offer for the future generations to overcome hitherto untreatable disorders such as dementias.

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