Biobanks play an increasing role in contemporary research projects. These units meet all requirements to regard them as a one of the most innovative and up-to-date in the field of biomedical research. They enable conducting wide-scale research by the professional collection of biological specimens and correlated clinical data. Pathology units may be perceived roots of biobanking. The review aims at describing the concept of biobanks, their model of function and scientific potential. It comprises the division of biobanks, sample preservation methods and IT solutions as well as guidelines and recommendations for management of a vast number of biological samples and clinical data. Therefore, appropriate standard operating procedures and protocols are outlined. Constant individualization of diagnostic process and treatment procedures creates the niche for translational units. Thus, the role of biobanks in personalized medicine was also specified. The exceptionality of biobanks poses some new ethical-legal issues which have various solutions, in each legal system, amongst the world. Finally, distribution and activity of European biobanks are mentioned.