The eight Dutch university hospitals in the Netherlands have joined forces to create a national research infrastructure for translational research. Initially eight national patient cohorts (the “pearls” are created, with DNA and other biomaterials stored in a biobank and clinical data available in one central database.
In the future, activities will be expanded to include additional patient cohorts. Since 2007, on a national level, specialists agreed on phenotypes to include, minimal datasets and use of standardised procedures to collect high-quality data in the setting of routine clinical care. Legal and ethical procedures were put down, sample processing and biobanking procedures were harmonised between the university laboratories, and data harmonisation models were created.
This is an example of how, through collaboration, a larger scale can be obtained to allow clinical research. These clinical biobanks are expected to contribute to more rapid evaluation of the effectiveness of therapies and the development of personalised treatment strategies.