Elena Salvaterra

Scientific Institute IRCCS "Medea", Italy

Title: The role of nurses in adult and pediatric biobanks


Elena Salvaterra completed her Ph.D in Philosophy of Law on 2004 at the University of Milan, where she worked until February 2005. Then she worked at the Biological Resource Center (BRC) of the Polyclinic Universit Hospital of Milan where she coordinated several research projects on the ELS-I of biobanks. Since the 2009, she works as senior researcher at the Unit of Bioethics of the Scientifi c Institute IRCCS “Medea”. Her expertise focuses on human and non human biobanks ELSI. Author of several publications, she was invited speaker at a number of international conferences. She is founder member of ESBB- European Middle Eastern and African Society for Biopreservation and Biobanking.


Biobanks play a key role in basic and translational research, by contributing to advance the development of new therapies and drugs. Biobank processes involve a number of professionals including pathologists, geneticists, bioinformaticians, and lawyers. Biobanks also involve a number of non health-related professionals, such as patients, patient families, patients organizations. These two categories are different and oft en distant by speaking different languages and having different mentalities. Based on their education and experience, nurses may play a key role in bringing together biobank professionals and specimen donors. Usually, biobanking issues relate to consent handling and return of results to patients or patient families. Nurses can contribute to resolve controversial issues both in adult and pediatric biobanks by taking part in consent processes and result communications. By moving from clinical or research practice to biobank processes, nurses can provide adequate information to patients and patient representative about the use of specimens for therapeutic or research purposes. Nurses can also serve as liaison between biobankers and patients when relevant health results emerge from research based on biobanks. By promoting a new role and competence of nurses in biobanking fi eld can be a good way to deal with recurrent and onerous issues.

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