Collection and storage of human biological materials (HBM) (in biobanks) for use in research is key to define better diagnostics and to develop better treatments for patients. To this effect the University Hospitals Leuven, as an Academic Medical Centre, has a very close collaboration with the Biomedical Sciences Group of the KULeuven, being the same legal entity, but also with very many national and international groups, both in academia and industry. Since several decades HBM has been obtained, both as leftover material and as primary research material, and stored in decentralized biobanks of  Pathology, Laboratory Medicine, Genetics and several clinical departments.
In 2007 a central initiative was started to comply with the changing Belgian legislation, to generate a generic informed consent and ethical code, to organize a generic data model and IT infrastructure and to create a central storage facility. The UZ Leuven also participates in several Flemish, national and international initiatives to create a more transparent model for biobanking and research related to HBM.
To coordinate the Biobank activities of the UZLeuven the BioBankBoard UZLeuven was created in 2008.

The goals of the Biobank UZLeuven are:

  • organize a quality system for all aspects of biobanking: acquisition of HBM, transportation/shipment, manipulation, storage/tracking, delivery for research purposes
  • create the proper environment to deal in an ethical and scientific manner with obtaining and using HBM
  • offer the infrastructure to store and manipulate HBM in a correct scientific and legal way (accreditation standard)
  • maintain a database  as the inventory of HBM and create the proper links with clinical data (HIS) in so far the material is not anonymised but coded or nominatum.

A coordinator for the Biobank was appointed in 2008 and a scientific council was put in place (BioBankBoard (BBB) UZLeuven) to give advice and to act as a Board of Governors, creating internal rules and judging applications for the use of HBM.
Since valorization of knowledge is a central point in the strategy of the UZ Leuven, the use of HBM can only be considered if the appropriate valorization is present; this can be done by research collaboration, publication, IP rights, financial or other transfers, etc.


Please contact the AC Biobanking Director Dr. Kristel Van Landuyt ( if you need additional information.