Documented in the May 24th 2010 edition of Wired magazine, Steve Silberman summarizes the problem.
“Every year, billions of dollars worth of research into the genetic underpinnings of autism, schizophrenia, diabetes, Alzheimers disease, and other devastating disorders hinges on scientistsҒ ability to tap industrial quantities of cells and tissue. But … while our technology for decoding the inner workings of life is advancing dramatically, the protocols for collecting and storing specimens of human flesh have barely evolved in decades. At the same time, innovation in the field of biobanking has stalled for lack of funding and interest. The science of bio-preservation is still considered an arcane, musty specialty, more akin to taxidermy than medicine. You might have thought that doing the science would be the biggest challenge of a massive undertaking like the Cancer Genome Atlas,Ӕ ….. But acquiring the biospecimens turned out to be the hardest part, bar none. ItӒs the Wild West out there.”