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In 2009, TIME Magazine named the National Cancer Institute’s effort to develop a national biobank housing tissue samples, tumor samples, DNA and blood one of the “Top 10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now.” A 2010 report from the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development summarizing a survey of drug companies noted that half of all clinical trials now collect DNA from participants to help find biomarkers that correlate with a drug’s effectiveness or safety. As noted in the TIME article, however, the challenge in developing biobanks is to maintain the privacy of the genetic data and to ensure that people are comfortable with sharing their DNA.

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