The biobank was established in 2020 to collect embryonic and fetal tissues in order to identify the different cell types and states during the first semester of human development.  

General information

The HuDeCA biobank supports research looking at how human tissues and organs form and develop, and how the different cell populations within those tissues evolve and differentiate during the first semester of human development.  The biobank also supports research studies looking at the reasons why some babies develop abnormalities or disorders before they are born, and how those disorders might be prevented in the future.

Differences between humans and animals means that some research can only be done with human tissues. Studies on human tissues are also required to confirm the results of human disease-related studies which have been carried out in animals.

The biobank was also created to homogenize fetal tissue collection procedures : all donors  receive the same information and the tissues are processed using standardized technology, then stored consistently in appropriate forms for subsequent processing. 

Tissue for the HuDeCA biobank is donated voluntarily by women who have had a termination of pregnancy (abortion) from collaborating hospitals in France.  Donors are asked to give explicit written consent for the fetal material to be collected, and only after they have been counselled about the termination of their pregnancy, so that their decision is not influenced in any way by the option to donate. Women who donate do so anonymously. They do not get anything in return for their donation, and receive the same hospital care as women who decide not to donate.

The biobank can provide embryonic/fetal material from 5 to 12 post-conception weeks. In each collecting center, tissues will be processed using standardized technology in the different laboratories according to harmonization of laboratory practices, then stored consistently in appropriate forms for subsequent processing (e.g., formalin-fixed, dissociated or fresh-frozen) for such approaches as single-nucleus/cell-driven high-throughput sequencing techniques, 2D- and 3D-immunofluorescence, and additional applications.

The tissue is collected in three different centers in Rennes (INSERM U1085), Lilles (INSERM U1172) and Marseille (INSERM U1251). The main storage center is located Lilles (BRC-CHU Lille). 

The HuDeCA Committee is responsible for the overall management of the project and vets all applications to use the available material. The committee makes a decision about the requests made based on a number of factors including the quality of the research, the type of research, and the way in which the research will be done (ensuring also that ethical aspects are respected)

The biobank was set up primarily for use by the academic research community in France. In the future, it will be possible for research centers located abroad to use the material store in the biobank. For all users, before material can be sent out, a material transfer agreement needs to be in place. Projects outside France will need to follow their local ethical and other governance regulations for use of embryonic and fetal human tissue.

Legal authorizations and ethical approvals

The HuDeCA consortium  has received a CODECOH authorization from the french Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation  for the preparation and conservation of human biological samples for research purposes (Codecoh n° DC-2019-3716). The consortium also declared their research protocol to the French Agency of Biomedecine (ABM – protocol PFS19-012). 
This project has been approved by the INSERM Ethics Committee, agreement IRB00003888.

Information notices and factsheets

[ SOON AVAILABLE ] — Different factsheets are in preparation to give guidance on the material, the required ethical approvals and the services that can be provided by the biobank to the research teams who may be interested in using the biological material.


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