National Institutes of Health Biospecimens Interest Group

Biospecimens Interest Group

Mission:  Serve as an educational and tutorial vehicle for disseminating information, best practices, regulations, and ethical/legal information formulated and issued by various NIH offices, federal agencies and other leading biospecimens organizations.




1.      To create a place where all stakeholders may exchange scientific data, ideas, and information concerning the creation and use of high quality biospecimens for research, assay validation, technology development and other appropriate uses.


2.      To promote and facilitate interaction between NIH intramural and extramural stakeholders who are interested in and involved with a variety of clinically-oriented, translational research projects using high quality biospecimens.


3.      To encourage leading stakeholders to address critical elements in study design and statistical analysis of data to facilitate the production of accurate, optimal, and clinically meaningful results (best outcome).


4.      To educate stakeholders about the potential barriers and obstacles that may obstruct the sharing and collaboration between stakeholders across different organizations and countries.  


5.      To increase the awareness for the necessity of high quality biospecimens and the harmonization, and when appropriate, standardized procedures (best practices, SOPs) for annotating, collecting, transporting, processing, storing, and sharing biospecimens to ensure optimal reproducibility of outcomes and the privacy of the patients (donors) through adherence to the ethical and legal requirements associated with the use of biospecimens.


6.      To provide the connectivity to various biorepositories and biospecimens around the world, especially those containing rare and difficult to get biospecimens.

Feature of the Month:  November 14, 2012, Natcher, Balcony C, 12:00 - 1:30 pm EST

"Biobanking of Orphan Cancer: The Salivary Gland Model" Professor Kennith D. Muller, Section of Head and Neck Pathology The University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston Texas and "An Australian Perspective on Biospecimens and Rare Diseases" Dr. Gareth Baynam Clinical Geneticist Genetic Services of Western Australia




The Science of Small Clinical Trials Course
November 27-28, 2012 ∙ Food & Drug Administration ∙ Silver Spring, Maryland

Small clinical trials may be appropriate and even a necessity in various contexts that include, but are not limited, to rare diseases. Being able to conduct them with scientific rigor is of increasing importance in the current regulatory and scientific environment. FDA's Office of Orphan Products Development (OOPD), in collaboration with NIH's Office of Rare Diseases Research (ORDR), is conducting a new and improved 2-day course entitled, "The Science of Small Clinical Trials”. This course will present an overall framework and provide training in the scientific aspects of designing and analyzing clinical trials based on small study populations.

This course aims to bring together subject experts and stakeholders to discuss examples of small clinical trials and to identify strategies and trial designs that are conducive to overcoming the problem of executing clinical trials using small study populations.

The conference is free and open to the public. Registration information and meeting agenda is available at:

The course is available on-line and will be archived



The Biospecimens Interest Group is supported by:  The NIH Office of Rare Diseases Research (ORDR), contact: Yaffa Rubinstein 301-402-4338 The NCI Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research (OBBR), contact: Helen Moore  301-496-0206

Individuals with disabilities who need reasonable accommodation to participate in this presentation should contact Tracy Starr, Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research, 301-496-2598 and/or the Federal Relay (1-800-877-8339).

Key Resources:
NIH Office of Rare Diseases Research
NCI Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimens Research

The NIH Biospecimens Interest Group is co-sponsored by the NIH Office of Rare Diseases Research and the NCI Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research 

Please join our listserv so we can inform you about the date, time and the place for future meetings, speakers, website and other activities ---

For information about this interest group, please contact:
Yaffa Rubinstein (ORDR) at 301-402-4338 or
Helen Moore (OBBR) at 301-496-1550                 

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