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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

With data management such a vital aspect of biobanking, a fully validated and operational sample management system is an important part of the accreditation process.  In 2011 the GRCF installed Freezerworks Unlimited (Dataworks Development, Inc., Mountlake Terrace, WA, USA) to manage the biorepository data. According to Dr. Olson, “Freezerworks was probably our easiest part of the CAP process.”

"Freezerworks was probably our easiest part of the CAP process." 

“As we were going through the CAP inspection and checklist, everything we needed to be able to do was already written into the program.  It was very helpful.  And because our staff had been using Freezerworks for so long, when [the inspectors] would go up to anyone in the lab and say, ‘I need to find this sample, how do I do it?’ they were able to [find it].”

An IT Perspective
By Matthew Johnston
Field IT Operations Manager, U.S. Military HIV Research Program   

The U.S. Military HIV Research Program (MHRP) has been using Freezerworks to manage their sample tracking, shipments and freezer inventory since 2006. Matthew Johnston, Field IT Operations Manager has been working at MHRP for over a decade, based out of the Bangkok, Thailand field site. He currently oversees the installation and continued support of Freezerworks at more than 10 of the Program's international field sites. Johnston was first introduced to Freezerworks Unlimited by his colleague and Specimen Archiving Specialist, Susan Mason
Johnston conducting training for the laboratory
staff in Abuja, Nigeria. Pictured: Chikwado Eneja,
Johnston, Joycelyn Ugochukwu, and Ferdinand Oyiri.

"Freezerworks allows for smooth migrations and upgrades. The straight forward backup functionality simplifies data redundancy and archive processes." - Matthew Johnston, IT Operations Manager.

 

During 2012, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH) established the Johns Hopkins Biological Repository (JHBR) to support large population based studies addressing public health issues such as HIV/AIDS, Viral hepatitis, Autism, COPD, vaccine trials and others.  

Johns Hopkins Biological Repository: An Academic Model

During 2012, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH) established the Johns Hopkins Biological Repository (JHBR) to support large population based studies addressing public health issues such as HIV/AIDS, Viral hepatitis, Autism, COPD, vaccine trials and others. 

For several years prior, the Department of Epidemiology devised a plan that would house the existing repository specimens in an off-site facility and free up space in the main building where the repository has resided and grown rapidly since 1984.  The goals were to provide a safe and trusted resource for investigators to store valuable specimens from small and large research studies, to have sufficient capacity for growth over the next ten years, to have a fiscally sound plan and to support the School's "Go Green" initiative. 

The new facility located 3 miles from the JHSPH consists of 6,300 square feet of space housing up to 80 high efficiency liquid nitrogen freezers. This core facility will provide much needed scientific services for a large number of public health related studies through a centralized service center and core laboratories.

Configurability is the Freezerworks advantage when it comes to managing today's Tissue Bank.

  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.