I would like to donate a sample for medical research. How can I do it?

To donate a sample please contact us ((+351)217999437 or (+351)965152588) or visit us at Egas Moniz building, Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisbon, where our team will give you all the necessary information and will collect the sample. You can also inform your doctor of your intention to donate a biological sample to Biobanco-IMM.


Will I have to be fasting to donate a sample?

No. You can eat normally before donating a blood sample, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.


I'm afraid to feel sick when I donate a blood sample. Can it happen?

The most common sample taken in Biobanco-IMM is blood and the procedure is identical to when you take blood for blood tests. It is possible that you may feel a slight pain and/or discoloration of the skin or bruising where the needle penetrated the vein. The infection rate in such procedures is very reduced.


There is legislation that governs the collection of biological samples and clinical data for biobanks in Portugal?

In Portugal, biobanks are regulated by Law nº 12/2005 which indicates that the harvest of biological samples is allowed only when there is agreement by an ethics committee. The registration of clinical data is regulated by the National Commission for Data Protection. The collection and storage of biological samples from the Biobanco-IMM are authorized by the Ethics Commission of the Centro hospitalar Lisboa norte – Hospital de Santa Maria and the collection of clinical data by the National Commission for Data Protection.


I am healthy. Why do you need my samples?

The samples from healthy donors are as important as samples from diseased donors. Often research in healthy samples is necessary to first understand the normal situation and only then it is possible to study the disease. Normal samples act also as comparators (controls), allowing a better interpretation of observations made in pathological samples.


I'm sick. My participation in Biobanco-IMM has any implications in the way my doctor treats me?

No. The donation to the Biobanco-IMM does not interfere in any time with clinical practice.


Biobanco-IMM already has many samples. Whydo you need more?

The Biobanco-IMM is seeking to recruit samples of all potential donors, from any geographical location, of any age, with or without disease. The number of samples required for research depends on the question of the study, as the biomedical research results depend on the analysis of large numbers of samples and in most cases compared to controls (individuals without the disease) . These comparisons enable the identification of common features such as biomarkers that are disease-specific.

The size of the scientific studies in clinical research is variable, but can reach several thousand of participants, depending on the type of study and the question to be answered. So, with your help the Biobanco-IMM can be a valuable resource!


How can I benefit from the research conducted with samples from the Biobanco-IMM?

Scientific research in healthcare can lead to discovery of new drugs or to the creation of new tests to for the early diagnose of certain diseases, thus benefiting the entire community. Donors can benefit directly from Biobanco-IMM if they hypothetically became users of the medical advances originated by Biobanco-IMM.

The donor may request to be contacted if a relevant disease marker is detected in his/her samples. In this case, the information will be transmitted to the physician who will forward the process.


I am not yet 18. Can I donate?

The donation of children is permitted if they are accompanied by parents or legal guardians. In this situation, the informed consent is signed by the donor (if older than 12 years old) and their parents/guardians or only by their parents if younger than 12 years old..


How long will be my samples stored?

The samples storage duration is variable and depends on the type of sample. On average, when the samples are stored under optimal conditions, they maintain good quality for at least 10 years.


Can I collaborate, but without donating samples?

You can help the Biobanco-IMM:

  • Supporting and following the activity of Biobanco-IMM on Facebook, Twitter and subscribing our newsletter.
  • Assisting in its divulgation, talking to your family and friends.
  • Contacting us for any voluntary action.
  • Contributing with a monetary donation.


Will my sample be used in only one study?

In most cases the sample amount needed for a study is very small and is part of the internal procedures of Biobanco-IMM to take special care with the transfer of samples in small quantities. Thus, a sample can potentially be used in several studies.


What diseases does the Biobanco-IMM help scientists to study?

The Biobanco-IMM's mission is to support scientific research and contribute to the promotion of health and well-being of all, therefore, there is no preferred group of diseases. The Biobanco-IMM aims to support research on all diseases, depending on the donations of samples from patients, the collaboration of health professionals who promote the collections and the proposal of studies to the Biobanco-IMM.


How do I know that the samples will not be used in studies with less noble goals and will not be sold?

The sale or promoting commercial gains from biological samples is prohibited by law. To ensure that all ethical procedures are completed, the Biobanco-IMM is approved by the ethics committee of the Centro Hospitalar Lisboa Norte - Hospital de Santa Maria. Moreover, when requesting samples to Biobanco-IMM, researchers must give evidence that the project was submitted and approved by an ethics committee. The Biobanco-IMM also has a scientific committee that ensures the proper use of each sample.


Investigators will know that I gave a sample?

No. When a sample is donated to the Biobanco-IMM a code is assigned and the identification of the donor is hidden and becomes inaccessible. From this point, samples and clinical data are treated anonymously.


If I donate voluntarily, why Biobanco-IMM have a price list?

The samples are carefully prepared and frozen to last as long as possible, in the best conditions. This preparation entails handling costs which are translated into tubes, pipettes and other consumables. The amount charged for the use of biobank samples has the sole purpose of redeem a part of the expenses spent with the collection and maintenance of the samples.


Can I stop my participation in Biobanco-IMM?

Yes. Participation is completely voluntary and at any time and without justification you can give up to participate in Biobanco-IMM. Your samples and clinical data will be destroyed and your participation will end. To do so, simply contact us via (+351)217999437 or (+351)965152588 or email immbiobanco@fm.ul.pt (weekdays 9am-19pm, outside these hours contact by email or phone).


When is Biobanco-IMM open?

Sampling in Biobanco-IMM operates weekdays from 9am to 19pm. In exceptional cases, the Biobanco-IMM can be contacted at (+351)965152588 to schedule harvests outside this schedule.


What are the infrastructures of Biobanco-IMM?

The Biobanco-IMM has an office space where all administrative issues are taken care, a room for sample collection with reception space and direct access to the exterior of the building. It is also included in the Biobanco-IMM a laboratory equipped for handling of samples and an acclimatized zone where the samples are stored in freezers.


What is the equipment of the biobank and how do you ensure the maintenance and quality of the samples?

The Biobanco-IMM has ultrafreezers at -80 ºC and liquid nitrogen containers at -196 ºC. It is essential that this equipment always works in the best possible way; therefore we monitor the temperature using probes and cool the room having the best operating conditions. In case of failure of one of these equipments the technical supervisor is contacted to transfer the samples to a back up unit ensuring that they are always properly maintained.


How is the Biobanco-IMM funded?

The biobank is a structure of Instituto de Medicina Molecular (IMM) which ensures its running costs. It also has private funding and the support of scientific societies.


The Biobanco-IMM is specifically for some kind research?

No. The Biobanco-IMM is available for any area of ??study since the project has approval of scientific and ethical commissions.


Researchers outside Portugal can use the Biobanco-IMM?

Researchers from other countries can order samples to Biobanco-IMM and are subject to the same evaluation process as portuguese researchers. The Biobanco-IMM encourages the formation of study groups or consortia of specific diseases, particularly regarding the use of samples which become depleted over time.


How is the Biobanco-IMM judging the quality of the research projects?

With the voluntary contributions of donors, the Biobanco-IMM plans to build a resource for research. However, as the biological samples are finite, care is required to use them. The scientific committee of Biobanco-IMM will determine the relevance and originality of a project’s study objectives.


How much will it cost to use the Biobanco-IMM?

The Biobanco-IMM carefully considered several pricing models and adopted a solution covering only part of the cost of materials used in sample preparation. In these calculations, administration costs or equipment necessary for the proper functioning of Biobanco-IMM were not taken into account.


What is the relation between Biobanco-IMM and the pharmaceutical industry?

Some pharmaceutical companies are interested in the potential of Biobanco-IMM and joined forces assisting in the financing of equipment and software. However, access to the samples is regulated in the same way as the other potential users, and there is no preferential condition.


I cannot find the answer to my question

For any question please contact us by calling (+351)217999437 or (+351)965152588 or email immbiobanco@fm.ul.pt (weekdays 9am-19h, outside these hours contact by email or phone). 

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