Biobank samples are gathered and stored using National Jewish Health funds and are therefore institutional resources. As they are a valuable and sometimes limited resource, they should be dispersed thoughtfully, and to members of National Jewish Health faculty and their collaborators. Access for research purposes should be facilitated as much as possible so that faculty can make good scientific use of the samples and derived data.
The experience of other biorepositories is that rigid policies do not prove helpful in distinguishing a good proposal from a poor one. The following guidelines will allow the Interim Bio‐sample Approval Subcommittee to make nuanced decisions that can maximize the benefit of sample use for all.
National Jewish Health faculty status and prior contributions to our scientific enterprise. While all faculty members have been vetted and thus should have the privilege of access, full‐time faculty with primary appointments here should have preference for more limited samples.
The level of meaningful collaboration of National Jewish Health faculty principals. One or more National Jewish Health faculty members should be a co‐investigator in the proposed research, and the level of collaboration should be judged as meaningful by the applicant.
Benefits to National Jewish Health of the proposed project. Benefits can include authorship on results, access to future grant or contract pportunities, intellectual property, favorable publicity, and the development of cohorts with associated data or derived sample products that would be potentially beneficial beyond the immediately proposed project. Consideration would include the signing of a Bio‐specimen Data Sharing Agreement. Projects that do not include such an agreement (such as some industry studies) would be less favored.
Rarity of donor patients and/or replaceability or renewability of samples or their derivatives (e.g., nucleic acids). These factors are important, but they will become easier to judge when we have seen the results of more projects.
Expected cost recovery for sample expenses, either directly or via indirects. A tiered pricing structure is available so that a project is expected to contribute to the cost of collecting, storing, and processing samples. Larger indirect costs can be considered as a favorable factor, too.
When a project is not very clearly favorable but its risk is low, favor dispensing samples so that we may gain more experience with the process.