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Closure of a human tissue biobank: individual, institutional, and field expectations during cycles of promise and disappointment

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Biobanks are increasingly being established to act as mediators between patient-donors and researchers. In practice, some of these will close. This paper details the experiences of one such bank. We report interviews with the bank's staff and oversight group during the period when the bank ceased biobanking activity, reconfigured as a disseminator of best practice, before then closing altogether. The paper makes three distinct contributions: (i) to provide a detailed account of the establishment, operational challenges, and eventual closure of the bank, which makes clear the rapid turnover in a cycle of promise and disappointment; (ii) to explore this in terms of a novel analytical focus upon field, institutional, and individual expectations; and (iii) to use this typology to demonstrate how, even after the bank's closure, aspects of its work were reconfigured and reused in new contexts. This provides a unique empirical analysis of the under-reported issue of biobank closure.
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Keywords: biobanks; closure; expectations; field; individual; institution; promise

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Cesagene, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, Glamorgan Building, King Edward VII, Cardiff, CF10 3WT, UK

Publication date: October 2, 2015

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