The International Sub-Project on Buerger disease

Buerger’s disease, also known as thromboangiitis obliterans is an inflammatory and occlusive peripheral vascular disease with unknown etiology that is commonly reported in young male smokers from developing countries and can lead to limb loss in sufferers. However, due to immigration of young people from developing countries to North America or Western Europe, the incidence of Buerger’s disease might increase in these areas.

Besides smoking cessation, due to unknown etiology and pathophysiology of Beurger’s disease, the precise treatment for Buerger’s disease is also unknown. Unfortunately, less than 50% of the patients can give up smoking. Besides, natural history of Buerger’s disease has various patterns among patients and patients usually develop different responses to routine treatments. Therefore, “personalized treatment” should be considered for treatment of such patients in future. With the development of personalized medicine, biobanks are becoming more and more attractive.

The European Biobank on Vascular Diseases (EBVD) with a policy of no amputation because of PVD, aims to create a European biobank of plasma, blood and paraffin blocks of tissue samples from a large number of patients with peripheral vascular diseases (PVD) for use in studies on the molecular etiopathogenesis of disease. For Buerger’s disease that is not as prevalent as PAD, the EBVD needs to have international collaboration with countries where such diseases occur. Due to the difficulties associated with sending biological samples, “local biobanking” was suggested as a way of collating samples with filling online questionnaire in and accessing to a large number of biological samples and related information from patients of different races.

However, different cultures may have different attitudes towards the ethical considerations of consent and use different equipment for biobanking, and there may be limited supervision on the quality of the tissue and data. For solving this problem, a unique and standard protocol for diagnosis and sample storing, a unique questionnaire for data gathering and a unique broad consent form were designed. A local coordinator, who should be a VAS member, will supervise the qualification of biobanking in the countries involved.