Biobanking, Zoology, and The Pill

Using Freezerworks to manage a wildlife contraception center and biorepository

By Rick Michels
Marketing Director, Freezerworks

Dr. Dalen Agnew pulling archived reproductive tissue from the archive
For exotic and endangered wildlife, whether it be the giant panda, white rhino, mountain gorilla, or even the humble koala, fertility is our ally and great hope for species preservation. When such animals successfully mate in captivity and bear surviving offspring, we naturally celebrate. Such stories are so heartwarming and popular that we don’t often consider the other side of the equation: what does a zoo do to prevent a population explosion? Public service announcements remind us of the importance of having our pets neutered, so much so that it often seems this is the only form of animal birth control. But is it? Do tigers and lions utilize artificial contraception like humans do?

The answer is yes. Wildlife contraception is a lesser known but important part of wildlife management: whether that management takes place in a zoo, a natural park, or even in those rapidly shrinking open spaces. And just as humans remain concerned about health and safety issues as they relate to contraception, researchers who work in animal contraception are similarly concerned with the safety and efficacy of chemical based birth control. Continue reading “Biobanking, Zoology, and The Pill”

Genocea’s use of Freezerworks as LIMS equals quality data and big savings

Samantha Kecman,
Senior Analytical Associate

How configuring Freezerworks to operate as a LIMS significantly reduced both IT and personnel costs for a small biotech

Genocea Biosciences, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a biotechnology company that discovers and develops T cell-directed vaccines and immunotherapies utilizing ATLAS™, a transformational technology platform for T cell antigen discovery. Like many small biotech companies, Genocea faces the challenge of conducting clinical trials utilizing groundbreaking and often expensive technologies with limited resources. To efficiently develop new drugs and therapies, a small biotech firm must be flexible to survive and prosper, and thrive by thinking creatively. Such creativity, when expanded to areas such as workflow and data management, can serve small biotechs well, and provide opportunities to stretch limited resources.

Nicolle Siddall, a Research Associate at Genocea, recently spoke at a Freezerworks Users’ Conference. She shared how the company is saving thousands of dollars in IT costs by capitalizing on the configurable nature of the sample management software program to allow it to serve as a LIMS. Besides tracking sample and aliquot locations, Freezerworks is now storing and managing the assay data for Genocea’s growing list of clinical trials. With Freezerworks, Genocea staff are securely storing information and reporting quality data to statisticians in a timely manner, meeting the company’s deadlines and objectives.
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How HemaCare improved business productivity with Freezerworks

Built on a 37-year history in apheresis collection, HemaCare Bioresearch Products and Services is a trusted research partner and leader in human primary cell and tissue collection, processing and cell therapy. Located in Van Nuys, California, HemaCare provides high-quality biological material derived from normal and mobilized peripheral blood, bone marrow and cord blood needed to ensure quality research outcomes that meet the unique needs of the scientific community.

Above: Left and middle: Fresh Leukaphersis collection and isolated cell processing. Right: Cryopreserved cells in liquid nitrogen (LN2) storage
Above: Left and middle: Fresh Leukaphersis collection and isolated cell processing. Right: Cryopreserved cells in liquid nitrogen (LN2) storage

As biomedical companies like HemaCare adapt to meet the growing needs of their customers, it is necessary to be flexible. For such companies operating in a heavily regulated environment, powerful yet configurable software can help meet these challenges and take advantage of new business opportunities. Today, Freezerworks’ sample management software plays an important role in managing the movement of blood products in a global market from production, storage, sale and shipment. And, because of Freezerworks’ configurable nature, HemaCare officials are now looking at ways to expand its use in a timely and seamless manner to meet those new opportunities.
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Freezerworks Advances Cancer Care with Effective Management of a Biorepository’s Clinical Data

Lorrie Allen and Lauren Baber of the ITOR Biorepository, located in the Greenville Health System, Greenville, South Carolina

“To be an international destination center that develops and delivers innovative, personalized cancer therapies”

The above is the vision statement of the Institute for Translational Oncology Research (ITOR) of the Greenville Health System (GHS) of South Carolina, USA. To meet that vision, the institute requires a biorepository that works closely with both clinical and research departments. A biorepository may have valuable samples, perhaps the most valuable collection of rare and hard to acquire samples in the world.  However, unless they are properly and fully annotated, those samples cannot be used to their maximum potential. An annotated, searchable, powerful database can provide rapid, invaluable molecular data for research and therapeutic uses.
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Freezerworks Supports Research in South Africa with Effective Sample Management

Slee Mbhele is a Clinical Trial Data Manager for the University of Cape Town, Division of Medical Microbiology. The Division has multiple sample collection sites throughout Southern Africa, where it conducts up to 12 ongoing clinical trials, focusing on tuberculosis and childhood pneumonia. These trials are funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, located in Seattle, Washington. The trial results are reported back to the foundation on a quarterly basis.

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The Role of Freezerworks in CAP Accreditation Success

The College of American Pathologists (CAP) accreditation program for biorepositories is relatively new, having begun in 2012.  The Genetic Resources Core Facility (GRCF) Biorepository and Cell Center at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine recently became the twelfth biorepository accredited by CAP.   According to its Director, Melissa Olson, PhD, the process, which she describes as a “major reorganizational effort”, was well worth it.

CAP accreditation, famous for its detailed checklists to ensure that quality policies and procedures are in place, offers for the biorepository “an overall outline to look at every aspect of this industry and make sure that all the pieces work together,” Olson said.  And even though an inspection can sound like a way to ensure sleepless nights, the end result – standardization – is actually stress-reducing.

Melissa Olson, PhD, Director of the GRCF
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Freezerworks Streamlines Sample Management in a High Volume Hospital Laboratory

Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma has been using Freezerworks since 2002.  Susan Arenson, a Medical Technologist at Saint Francis, has worked there for 31 years and began working with Freezerworks while she was the LIS Manager. Recently, she transitioned to the Information Technology team at Saint Francis, but was the main Medical Technologist during the transition to Freezerworks.

“Freezerworks has been a lifesaver for us, and we absolutely could not function without it.” – Susan Arenson, Medical Technologist/LIS Manager

During a conference in 2001, an associate at Saint Francis discovered Freezerworks.  At the time, the lab was implementing an outreach program and they were in desperate need of software to track specimens. They decided to contact Dataworks Development to obtain Freezerworks sample management software in 2002. The change in laboratory operations has been dramatic.
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The Johns Hopkins Biological Repository – Secure samples, secure data

 The development of the Johns Hopkins Biological Repository (Director: Dr. Homayoon Farzadegan) is a remarkable story. More than one million frozen research samples were moved out of labs and hallways and into a state-of-the-art off-site biobank facility.

Stacey Cayetano and Brett Purinton shared the development of the Johns Hopkins repository and their use of Freezerworks Unlimited at our 2013 Users Meeting. Freezerworks Unlimited was configured by Stacey and Brett and the JHBR staff into a full featured (and affordable) Biorepository Information Management System, managing everything from testing and results to storage and shipping.

Their Powerpoint presentation can be viewed in PDF form here.

Configurability in Action: Tissue Banking from the Museum to the Hospital

Dr. Angelique Corthals is the Scientific Director of the Tissue Bank at Stony Brook Hospital in New York. Prior to this, in 2000, she was instrumental in computerizing the biobank at the American Museum of Natural History. In both cases, she has installed Freezerworks.

Whether storing human or environmental samples, the Freezerworks advantage is configurability. As needs and methods change, configurability empowers the biobank staff to create, manage, update and maintain the data behind the collection of valuable specimens, while saving thousands of dollars in doing so.

Dr. Corthals presented a corporate workshop at the 2012 European, Middle Eastern & African Society for Biopreservation and Biobanking (ESBB) Conference in Granada. Click the link below to view a pdf of her PowerPoint presentation of the power and flexibility of Freezerworks in both human and environmental biobanking.

Click here for PDF.

Nobel Prize Lab Uses Freezerworks to Manage Dendritic Cell Research

A Spotlight on the Laboratory of Cellular Physiology and Immunology at the Rockefeller University

By Rick Michels

June 7, 2013

“Perhaps my favorite thing about Freezerworks is that I spend less time working on weekends and more time with my wife and dogs.”James Pring

James Pring
Co-Facilities Manager
Steinman Lab at Rockefeller University

Founded by Nobel Laureate Dr. Ralph Steinman, the discoverer of dendritic cells, the Laboratory of Cellular Physiology and Immunology at the Rockefeller University in New York City works to further understand the nature of the immune system and how it relates to dendritic cells. In order to accomplish their goal of using this information to produce real-world benefits, researchers here are currently running a proof-of-concept trial that target antigens within antibodies of dendritic cells in vivo as well as 3 adjuvant trials.

James Pring, Senior Co-Facilities Manager of the Clinical Trials, is responsible for overseeing all clinical trial samples from the time they leave the patient until they enter the liquid nitrogen freezer and are sent out for research. With over tens of thousands sample aliquots and many collaborators, both domestic and international, the lab is constantly shipping and receiving samples. Pring appreciates the time and energy he saves with the Freezerworks Shipping Module.
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