Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Western countries and current research is still focusing on optimizing therapeutic approaches in the battle against this multifactorial disease. Concepts regarding the pathogenesis of many cardiovascular diseases originate from observations of human atherosclerotic tissue obtained from autopsies or during vascular surgery. These observations have helped us to disentangle the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis. However, identifying vulnerable patients, those prone to developing cardiovascular complications, remains difficult. The search for predictive cardiovascular biomarkers continues and large, well organized biobanks are needed to discover or validate novel biomarkers. Biobanks are an extremely valuable resource that enables us to study the influence of both genetic and environmental factors on the development of multifactorial diseases such as atherosclerosis. This review will focus on the advantages and pitfalls in atherosclerotic biobanking.
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