BrainNet Europe is a consortium of brain banks in mainland Europe and UK which commenced activities in 2001, expanding to the present grouping in 2004. Today, the network comprises 18 full member brain banks and two associated brain banks.
Purpose of BNE - in a nutshell
Purpose of BNE - in a nutshell
- To promote brain banking as a research resource for European neuroscience through the provision of high quality human brain tissue samples.
- To determine the effect of pre- and post mortem parameters on preservation of DNA, RNA, proteins and neurochemical substances.
- To determine the limits of usability of human post-mortem brain tissue for advanced molecular techniques.
- To develop gold standards for tissue handling, tissue quality control and ethics leading to best practice guidelines for brain banking.
- To provide training in brain banking and related methodology.
- To reach out to neuroscience centres worldwide and promote future expertise in central nervous system (CNS) research.
Why foster Brain Banking?
Disorders of the CNS are important causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide and have a highly significant impact on societal welfare. Many of these disorders remain untreatable despite recent progress in understanding their pathogenesis, and the need for further research is as great as ever. During the last 150 years or so, human autopsy brains have served as a vital resource for the study of human CNS diseases and have contributed to most groundbreaking research in this field. Recent methodological advances in the wake of the human genome project, including genomics, proteomics, laser capture microdissection and cell fractionation studies, have galvanised research progress in many fields and there is now huge interest in applying these methods to human brain tissue.
Why at European Level?
Research of international quality is crucially dependent upon the availability of high quality brain tissue samples which are clinically and neuropathologically validated to the highest standards. The availability of normal control material is of equal importance. In an era of declining autopsy rates, donated brain samples are a precious resource. Set against this are the exciting developments in methodology, which have allowed progression of brain banking from exclusively morphological approaches to the introduction of complementary molecular techniques. It is now more important than ever that human brain banks are organised and maintained by individuals with a very high level of professional competence. BNE brings together very experienced brain banking experts and the best equipped institutes in order to make the quality of European Brain Banking a global benchmark.
BrainNet Europe sets new standards.
BNE deals with cutting-edge research topics: The member banks possess a very wide range of methodological competencies. The elite of European brain bankers, clinicians and molecular biologists have committed themselves to an ambitious joint programme of activities. The concentration of knowledge in brain research in the BNE consortium is unique in Europe and at the forefront of global brain research.
BNE invests great efforts in the field of quality control. The goal is to define gold standards in tissue sampling practice and in neuropathological diagnostics. Various inter-laboratory studies are performed to harmonize neuropathological diagnostics throughout Europe. Consensus meetings take place where experts discuss their recent findings. It is BrainNet Europe's aim to improve the quality of brain banking in Europe to the highest possible level. This consortium sets a new benchmark for global brain research and attracts many experts from within and outside Europe to join future activities.