A biobank to support HIV malignancy research for sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa has one of the highest incidences of infection with HIV globally, but more people in this region are living longer owing to increased access to antiretroviral therapy. However, along with increased care and treatment, this population is expected to have an increase in HIV-associated cancers, as is being seen in the USA and other developed countries. To support translational research in HIV-associated cancers, Stellenbosch University in Cape Town, South Africa, was funded to house the state-of-the-art AIDS and Cancer Specimen Resource Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Biorepository (SSA RBR) to proactively obtain, manage and process biospecimens and associated clinical data representing both AIDS-defining and non-AIDS-defining cancers for research. The SSA RBR furthermore functions as the biorepository for AIDS Malignancy Consortium sub Saharan clinical trial activities in this region. Although the site had much experience with cryopreservation and storage of specimens, capacity building revolving around operations under International Society for Environmental and Biological Resources/National Cancer Institute best practices took place in such areas as custodianship v. ownership, data sharing and facilities management. The process from selection until launch took 14 months.