medicine. The systematic collection and storage of samples of biological material and associated clinical data is revolutionizing biomedical research. Biobanks are extremely useful in the study of multi-factorial diseases, such as cancer and diabetes. They can be used to discover particular variations of diseases or novel therapeutic targets, and thus accelerate drug discovery in the scope of personalized medicine. However, human biobank development also presents a number of legal and ethical challenges, as well as key governance issues that ought to be resolved, in order to achieve a satisfying level of political, financial and public acceptance. This paper discusses these topics by emphasizing in the European landscape, as exemplified by the Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure (BBMRI) initiative. Aspects of patient education and the role of primary health practitioners in fasciliatating the process are also contemplated.