The Swiss Spinal Cord Injury Cohort Study (SwiSCI) biobank: from concept to reality


To describe the concept, establishment and the operationalization of the biobank of the Swiss Spinal Cord Injury Cohort Study (SwiSCI), the available biosamples, and demographic and clinical characteristics of study participants.

The SwiSCI biobank is a platform for research within SwiSCI. It collects and processes serum, plasma, PBMCs, RNA, DNA, and urine from three rehabilitation centers. Samples are collected at admission to first rehabilitation and at discharge. Additionly, the biobank provides services to projects nested in SwiSCI or otherclinical trials among Spinal Cord Injury population.

Descriptive statistics were used for an overview of available biosamples, study participant characteristics, and comparison of the participating centers.

Between the SwiSCI biobank establishment on June 27th, 2016, and October 19th, 2023, the SwiSCI Study has obtained informed consent from 524 individuals. Of these, 315 (60.1%) have agreed to donate biospecimens to the biobank. The average age of the contributors was 54 years (range: 38–65), with the majority being male (80%). Most participants suffered from traumatic injuries (66%) and were classified as paraplegic (64%). Approximately 80% presented with motor and sensory-incomplete SCI. The median Spinal Cord Independence Measure (SCIM) score was 31 (Interquartile Range: 19–58). The proportion of individuals providing paired biosamples at two distinct time points ranged from 63% (for RNA) to 65% (for urine and urine sediment).

The SwiSCI biobank is a unique platform designed to serve as a basis for collaborative SCI research, including multi-omics approaches. The longitudinal collection of biospecimens and cryopreservation of multiple aliquots for each participant are fundamental for scrutinizing the temporal associations, ensuring research reproducibility, and achieving an adequate sample size for future investigations.

Full text: Zeh, R.M., Glisic, M., Capossela, S. et al. The Swiss Spinal Cord Injury Cohort Study (SwiSCI) biobank: from concept to realitySpinal Cord (2024).