The largest facility in the UK for storing and processing biological samples for clinical research has opened today (January 28) in Milton Keynes.

According to the Department of Health, the £24-million National Biosample Centre will help overcome the challenges of establishing, running and maintaining studies involving large volumes of biological samples, boosting the UK’s capacity for biomedical research.

The Centre - which will have capacity to store over 20 million samples at temperatures as low as -196C - will be accessible by academic and NHS health researchers, as well as those from the commercial sector. Access will, however, be subject to strict research governance and ethical frameworks, including appropriate consent and confidentiality, the DH stressed.

Tim Peakman, chief executive of UK Biocentre, which will run the Biosample resource, says it will “improve the quality of resources available for research, speed up generation of research findings, and reduce costs which will free up money to be spent on further studies”.