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Personal medicine—the new banking crisis

An Erratum to this article was published on 07 May 2012

This article has been updated


As the healthcare industry moves from a twentieth century approach of providing treatments of last resort to a future of individualized medicine, biobanks will play a pivotal role in this transition. Yet at the cutting edge of biobanking research are new ethical, social and policy challenges beyond those familiar to basic biomedical research.

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Figure 1: Biobanks around the world.
Figure 2: Global market value of the demand for human biospecimens and related services.

Change history

  • 24 February 2012

    In the version of the article originally published, the citation in Figure 1 was given as ref. 14; it should be ref. 2. In Table 1, CARTaGENE was misspelled, and the descriptions in column 3 of this repository, BioVu's and the International HapMap were incorrect: CARTaGENE should be described as “a repository of socio-demographic, health data and biological samples from 20,000 citizens of the province of Quebec in Canada”; BioVu's description should read “Repository of DNA samples and de-identified health information from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center's electronic system”; and the International HapMap description should read “International collaboration with the ultimate goal of developing a haplotype map of the human genome.” In addition, the amount of the Havasupai settlement was incorrectly stated to be $700 million. It should read $700,000. Finally, the work of Simon et al. (ref. 8). on biobank consent models was incorrectly described. The text should read, “For example, a recent US focus group and survey study found a public that preferred a broad approach to consent over ones involving additional choices. But the preference was marginal, thus noting the lack of consensus on these issues. Indeed, as noted by the authors of the study: '54% of our survey and 42% of our focus group participants could be seen as preferring a control/choice-promoting model (e.g., categorical or study-specific consent) over a control/choice demoting model (e.g., broad consent)8'.” The errors have been corrected in the HTML and pdf versions of the article.


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C.T.S. acknowledges support from the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics. T.C. thanks AllerGen (National Centres of Excellence program) the Cancer Stem Cell Consortium and the ICDC, University of Alberta. J.I. and E.B.'s contributions to this paper were enabled by NIH/National Institute of Mental Health R01 no. MH 9R01MH84282, Canadian Institutes of Health Research/Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction no. CNE85117, the British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation. J.I. is a member of the NIH, National Human Genome Research Institute grant no. 2-R01-HG003178.

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Correspondence to Christopher Thomas Scott.

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Scott, C., Caulfield, T., Borgelt, E. et al. Personal medicine—the new banking crisis. Nat Biotechnol 30, 141–147 (2012).

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