A new survey reveals that 68% of patients are willing to donate tissue and fluid samples to biorepositories. The way researchers frame the request for a donation, however, absolutely matters. The aforementioned patients are eager to donate when they are asked -- simply and without any details -- whether they would like to. Additional information about how exactly the tissue will be used can color patients' decision, and sometimes even change their minds altogether.

How Much Do Patients Want To Know?
While today's laws ask for consent for donation, they do not require researchers or facilities to provide patients who donate samples with specifics. What, then, is the best course of action to take? Here's what patients have to say: "When asked which of five informed-consent options they found most acceptable, 25.5% said blanket consent with option to withdraw was best, followed by plain blank consent (no donor control), 21.1%," according to Medscape.com.

Of course, another important thing to note is that glossing over some of the details isn't necessarily a calculated, malicious decision. Biobanks often store tissue samples for a number of different purposes including environmental research, translational medicine, translational research, and more. Hospitals, doctors' offices, and biobanking facilities simply may not know where exactly the sample will ultimately go and how it will be used for many months, or even years.

What Are The Possibilities?
As of 2000, there were over 300 million specimens in storage at biobanking facilities -- with that number increasing by about 20 million per year! These samples can be used in a number of different ways. The possibilities include anything from cancer research, stem cell research, transplant research, to vaccine research. These are important causes, especially given that there are about 14.5 million adults and children living with cancer as of January 1, 2014 and there will be 1,658,370 new cancer cases diagnosed by the end of the year. In rare cases, samples will be put to potentially controversial use, such as finding ways "to make abortion techniques safer and more effective," according to Medscape.com.

Biobanking saves lives. How does -- and how should -- consent factor into it? A new survey reveals that most patients would rather donate tissue with the option to revoke consent, or donate without knowing how exactly tissues will be put to use.
sample managementIf you work in the biomedical field, you should already know the importance of proper sample management in your lab. Your research center deals with high volumes of biological data that are crucial to the lives of many, and it's imperative that no corners are cut in making sure your sample tracking is streamlined and effective.

The mind-boggling number of tissue samples in U.S. biobanks should give you an idea of how easy it could be to lose track of important information. America had about 300 million tissue samples in biorepositories over 15 years ago, and with that number increasing by an estimated 20 million a year, you can do the math and see that the odds are not in your favor.

Even more alarming is the inability of lab technicians to find the right samples despite the massive amount that is available to them. In fact, a 2011 survey found that about 47% of cancer researchers had trouble finding biobank samples of sufficient quality. With the proper biobanking software, these researchers can more accurately identify the samples they need and use them accordingly.

Advances in biorepository sample management have been rapid in the past decade, so it's important to make sure your lab has the tools it needs to perform at the highest level. While the industry is fairly new (about two-thirds of all biobanks were established in the last 10 years), 17% of these facilities have existed for more than 20 years. If your lab is part of the latter group, it is absolutely crucial that you get the most up-to-date sample tracking software to avoid falling behind.

Seek the highest quality sample management software to ensure that your lab is running as smoothly as it should be. You owe it to your clients and their patients to perform at the highest possible level at all times and get them the samples they need in a fast, accurate manner.

Don't underestimate the value of having sample management software. Though you may think that your facility is doing just fine without sample manager software or sample tracking software, you may have a greater need for a more competent, digital system than you suppose. Consider the following.


There Are a Lot Samples Out There
There's a lot of samples out there, so much so that the sheer volume can make it all difficult to manage. Believe it or not, the number of tissue samples in U.S. biobanks alone has been estimated to have reached more than 300 million by the turn of the century. Since that time, it's increased by about 20 million per year.

Many Facilities Have Trouble Tracking Down Quality Samples
Believe it or not, many biobanks actually have trouble getting the samples that they need. According to a 2011 survey of more than 700 cancer researchers, about 47% of cancer researchers -- nearly half -- had trouble finding biobanks samples of sufficient quality. Management software can help alleviate this problem, and make it easier to find the samples needed.

Most Facilities Understand the Need For Oversight
Most facilities know that there's an oversight problem. In fact, about four out of five (80%) of biobanks have an internal oversight board of some kind. Since it's apparent to so many biobanks that oversight is a huge priority -- as it should be -- the logical thing to do would be to make any and all improvements possible. Biobanking software can only help.

Between the sheer volume of samples, the inability to track down quality samples, and the obvious need for oversight, it's amazing that more facilities don't immediately adopt management software, which can help alleviate such issues.

 

 

If you are part of a biorepository or institution that does clinical research, you understand the importance of sufficient sample tracking and workflow management. While achieving these results in an efficient way can be difficult, the advancements in biobanking software have made it possible to find exactly what your lab needs to do your job correctly.

Through the implementation of web-enabled biobanking software, you can enhance numerous aspects of your research process, from better maintaining your freezer inventory to improving your lab management system. There was an estimated 300 million tissue samples in biobanks at the turn of the century and that number is increasing by about 20 million a year. The staggering amount of samples being deposited into biorepositories makes it more important than ever to make sure your biobanking software is the best that it can be.

The process of finding acceptable samples is difficult due to the large number of options available to you. Over two-thirds of biobanks were established within the last decade, and many are still trying to get up to speed when it comes to sample tracking. In a 2007 survey, 47% of researchers said they had difficulty finding biobank samples of sufficient quality. By obtaining web-enabled biobanking software, you can track the samples that you need to complete your research while assuring they meet your high quality standards.

In 2015 alone, there will be almost 1.7 million new cases of cancer diagnosed. It is imperative to keep up with the growing need for research and find samples that enable your lab or biorepository to manage this information in the best way possible. Find a laboratory management software that will streamline your research process and deliver you the tools you need to perform your job and save lives.

freezer softwareBiobanking is the practice of collecting biological and medical data for research purpose; in fact, more than 50% of biobanks identify their reason for existence as research on a specific disease. The popularity of biobanking has exploded in the last 15 years or so, and there is a genuine need for it. Although the number of tissue samples in U.S. biobanks has been increasing by about 20 million since the year 2000, almost half the cancer researchers asked in a recent survey said they had trouble finding samples of acceptable quality for their research.

Part of the trouble with sample quality is in the technology of the freezer inventory software that biobanks use. The process of stabilizing biosamples at low temperatures is called cryopreservation. The freezing process is extremely complex, and needs to be monitored and controlled- it is recommended that samples be stored from -80 degrees Celsius to -200 (which is the temperature in which all enzymes cease to operate). The main component of any cell is water, and ice crystals forming during the freezing process can destroy the sample completely. Add in thawing and unthawing of samples as they are retrieved and studied, and it can be very hard to maintain sample management standards.

Many freezer software systems use what is called a seed lot system to bypass this problem. When a sample is collected, a portion of it is set aside as the “seed” which is not used for research until all of the working material is gone. That seed is then separated to make a new batch of working material and so on. This helps preserve the integrity of the original sample.

One big issue in lab sample tracking is keeping track of the proper information without violating the privacy of the subject who contributed it. The most successful and desirable freezer software decodes personal information completely and retrieves the sample based on an assigned code (sometimes even a barcode). This serves to keep personal information private but still allow the researchers to access demographic information that applies to the research.

What’s your opinion on biobanking? Drop us a note in the comments!

biobank software

Biobanking, though 17% of facilities have been around for more than a decade, is just now starting to get recognition. Much of their research has been used in studies which have become big steps forward for the medical community. However, in many cases the people reading the study have no idea what biobanks are, or how biobank software works. So we've put together a basic guide of the whats, whys, and hows to help you out!

What are biobanks?
Biobanks are research facilities, founded in order to conduct studies on various diseases. Often funded by the government or foundations, they look at vast amounts of samples for their research.

So why are they doing this research?
Over half (53%) of these facilities were established to research a specific disease, while 29% list general research as their reason for establishment. They do this research in order to find ways to combat the disease.

How is the research conducted?
The research done by these facilities is done by looking at large amounts of samples and trying to find a common theme. Biobanks had over 300 million tissue samples at the turn of the century, and that number increases by about 20 million each year. This large amount allows them to find patterns in the samples where a genetic mutation might happen in order to begin the disease. If they can find the spark, they can then conduct research to figure out how to stop that from happening.

So how are samples cataloged?
Biobanks have a sample management system, where each laboratory sample is categorized by age, race, gender, etc. Then for each study, researchers can pull whatever they need from there. Biobank software has become increasingly advanced in the last decade allowing researchers to do more studies with better accuracy.
environmental research

While many people have likely heard the term "biobanking," they likely have little to no idea what it actually means. Biobanks often come up in discussions of new studies or research findings, but there isn't much information on what they are. Biobanks are facilities located nationwide, which focus on various kinds of research. They boasted an impressive 300 million tissue samples at the turn of the century, and that number has grown exponentially since then. Sample tracking provides an easy way to catalog samples based on age, race, and gender, among many other divisions.

Funding for these facilities comes from a variety of sources, including fees for services (11%) and funding from individuals or foundations (10%). However, an estimated 36% of biobanks cite the government as their largest source of funding, and they have provided at least some funding to about 57% of biobanks. Though their research is often overlooked by many, we have broken down some of the types of research these amazing facilities do in order to give you an idea of their impact.

General Research
About 29% of biobanks say that the primary reason they were founded was to conduct general research. They look at many different diseases and health issues in order to find creative solutions. Though it is unspecified research, numerous discoveries have been made at the facilities doing general study.

Specific Research
Over half of biobanks asked say that they were established for research on a particular disease or issue. For example, many biobanks focus specifically on cancer research. Biobanking software allows researchers to separate samples based on a number of characteristics, and allows them to look at hundreds of samples at a time. This means that scientists can see similarities and differences in the genetic code of the samples so that they can try to pinpoint where cancer manifests exactly.

Environmental Research
Biobank software is not just limited to disease control and research. It can also be used for environmental research. This research is often used to aid the research mentioned above, as scientists now know that the environment surrounding a patient, whether it be internal (stress) or external (pollution), can significantly contribute to whether a person develops a disease or health issue.

Biobanks do so much amazing work, and their discoveries have given us a better understanding of how disease manifests. If this work continues as it has, we may soon see steps to bigger cures.
biorepository software

Due to the promise and success of biobanking and translational medicine, millions of people with a variety of conditions will someday be able to access better treatments that will improve their prognoses and quality of life. However, a smaller but prevalent number may be unable to experience these benefits due to reactions or resistance to certain drugs. Because of this, the Mayo Clinic is collaborating with Baylor College of Medicine to study 10,000 of the donors in their freezer inventory to check for these potential problems. Researchers plan to sequence the DNA of these patients for 69 different genes that can influence metabolization and reactions to different medicines, a project that could improve both treatment protocols and biorepository management.

Biobanking is a huge international industry that is only continuing to grow with time: research shows that nearly two-thirds of biobanks were established within the last decade, while only 17% have been in existence for over 20 years. This rate is consistent with an increasing number of samples stored in the facilities, with reports estimating that there were 300 million tissue samples stored in biobanks in the U.S. alone at the turn of the century, a figure that is now increasing by 20 million a year. Many of these research centers have a specific goal in mind, with 53% of biobanks listing research on a particular disease as the most important reason for their establishment. However, of the more general biobanks, the Mayo Clinic's facility is one of the best known and well-reputed research centers, focusing on a variety of conditions with genetic causes. Now, the organization is turning its expertise and biorepository software towards a common problem: drug reactions and resistance.

In the new study, Baylor's Human Genome Sequencing will sequence the genomes of 10,000 patients, beginning with a 500-person sample pilot program to refine the testing process before moving on to the samples from the 10,000 patients. Once the data is sequenced, the Mayo Clinic will integrate the data into their electronic health records with their biorepository software and analyze the results. Over the course of this process, both organizations will also study the sequencing data to identify novel genomic variants and hopefully find ways to improve the way patients are tested for drug reactions and resistance. To further the potential benefits of the study, the Mayo Clinic's Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery will also be analyzing the results to see if pharmacogemonic DNA sequencing and data actually improves patient care.

While the program is in its infancy, its researchers have stated that the program has the potential to help bring pharmacogenomics into patient care, possibly preventing serious errors and identifying the best drugs and individualized treatments for thousands of patients. This impact is largely due to the Mayo Clinic's extensive collection of DNA samples and complete de-identified medical histories, which are stored in the biobank's biorepository software. Will the project be able to reduce the complications associated with drug reactions and resistance? Only time will tell.

laboratory sample management software

As of January 1, 2014, there were nearly 14.5 million living children and adults with a history of cancer around the world, demonstrating the importance of finding effective treatments for this devastating condition. To discover potential therapies, oncologists and researchers often turn to translational medicine, which "translates" new findings into effective medical decisions and approaches. This tactic usually relies on biobanking facilities, and for good reason: in 2000, the number of tissues samples in American biobanks alone was estimated at 300 million, and has since increased by 20 million a year. However, in 2011, as many as 329 cancer researchers reported that they were having trouble finding samples of sufficient quality.

Fortunately, laboratory sample management software has improved dramatically in recent years, resulting in better samples and organizational methods to track freezer inventory. This helps researchers find the best possible samples for their studies, whether they are researching cancer or heart disease or thousands of conditions in between. Many experts say that this could lead to a number of better treatments for these disorders, pointing to recent successes as proof.

One of these examples is a fresh study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where a team of cancer researchers believe they have made a significant discovery about a prominent subtype of breast cancer. There are five different types of breast cancer, each with distinct biologies that progress and react differently to treatment. The researchers discovered that one of these subtypes, called HER2-enriched or HER2+, has an elevated expression of two proteins: poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase, a DNA repair enzyme also called PARP1, and phospho-p65. As a result, the team believes that a type of drug called PARP inhibitors could be used to better treat women with HER2+, which currently has a fairly poor prognosis.

This discovery follows several other trials which have previously shown benefits to PARP inhibitors, including one study that showed that HER2+ cells are sensitive to the drugs, and others that suggested it could be used in cases with both defective and intact DNA repair pathways. To further study the condition and the potential use of the medicine, the UAB group tested breast cancer tissue that had been collected from 307 patients between 1992 and 2012 and stored using laboratory sample management software. The patients had been diagnosed with HER2+, basal or luminal breast cancer. They found that HER2+ tumors had higher levels of PARP1 and phospho-p65 when compared to other tumors, and that these proteins were coordinately expressed. It is perhaps unsurprising to learn that PARP1 has previously been linked to particularly aggressive tumors.

In light of their discovery, the research team is recommending that PARP inhibitor sensitivity be tested in further trials. In time, with further usage of tissues stored with laboratory sample management software and a focus on these proteins, perhaps researchers will be able to use this information to create a more effective treatment.

laboratory management softwareOf the many different clinical innovations that have been made over the course of the past few decades, biobanking is perhaps one of the most instrumental and fastest-growing. This key implement in the field of translational medicine is steadily becoming more popular: nearly two-thirds of biobanking facilities were established in the last 10 years, and American biobanks alone are estimated to contain more than 500 million tissue samples. As this technique grows in regard, researchers have begun using its methods, as well as new laboratory management software, to study different conditions and diseases that might not originally have viewed as applicable. One example of this is a new study from health care company Kaiser Permanente, which plans to gather genetic material from 5,000 member families to study autism spectrum disorders.

Studies show that 53% of biobanks listed research on a particular disease as the most important reason for establishment, while only 29% cited general research as the reason for their founding. Accordingly, researchers plan to use Kaiser Permanente's Autism Family Research Bank to create a freezer inventory that will give them access to detailed genetic, medical and environmental research on "trios," or two biological parents and an autistic child under the age of 26. Patient privacy will be ensured with laboratory management software. The research teams says it intends to use the biobank to create effective autism treatments.

Autism is a fairly common neurodevelopmental disorder, best known for its impaired social interaction and communication, as well as restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior. While autism can be easily diagnosed, researchers know little about what causes it, or why it is becoming more common. Currently, autism occurs in one in 68 children. Researchers say that analyzing the genetic and health data of people with autism, as well as their parents, could reveal important information about how and when the condition develops, as well as what causes the disorder

The Autism Family Research Bank is the result of a $4.6 million grant from the Simons Foundation to Kaiser Permanente's Autism Research Program. In turn, the program is part of the southern California health care company's new focus on the relationship between genetics and health. The company's Genes, Environment and Health program has already established one biobank in Oakland from the data of consenting patients, and reportedly plans to launch another facility that will include all of its regions. However, these aren't the first experiences the company has had with biobanking: in 2013, Kaiser Permanente received a $8.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the genome sequences of women and their partners to detect mutations that could cause rare but serious diseases in their children.

The Autism Family Research Bank is currently seeking participants for its biobanking project from among its Northern California members and Solano County. Applicants must have a child under the age of 26 who has an autism spectrum disorder. The patients' genetic and identifying information will be organized and protected with laboratory management software.

The average American likely knows very little about translational medicine, a discipline that seeks to "translate" clinical research into new tools, treatments, policies and more to improve public and individual health. For the biomedical community, however, translational medicine is an important subject, causing organizations and scientists to dedicate millions in funding and years of effort to biobanking, various projects, and more. For example, the Strategic Pharma-Academic Research Consortium for Translational Medicine recently awarded $1.9 million to several different research projects, furthering the application of this practice to autoimmune diseases.

The Strategic Pharma-Academic Research Consortium was designed to support translational medicine in both the public and private sectors. Accordingly, their recent grants were awarded in collaboration with their industry partners, Eli Lilly and Co. and Takeda Pharmaceuticals International Inc., two international pharmaceutical companies. The program gives $400,000 to five research projects at medical research universities in the Midwest, which will be used to provide a two-year investment in each group's work. These research projects focus on multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus, Crohn's disease, dermatomyositis and scleroderma.

The grants will likely be extremely helpful to these different teams, as translational research often features a variety of scientific expenses. Take biobanking, for example: whether a biological freezer inventory is maintained by an academic institution, company, or other private group, 57% of these facilities rely on funding from the federal government to support their operations. In many cases, this funding is necessary to invest in high-quality laboratory sample management software: while the number of tissues was estimated at more than 300 million in 2000 and is increasing by 20 million a year, a 2011 study of more than 700 cancer researchers found that 47% had trouble finding quality biobank samples.

One of the most exciting projects affected by the Strategic Pharma-Academic Research Consortium's grants is led by Dr. Yanjio Zhou of Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL). His research team, which includes assistant professor of neurology Dr. Laura Piccio and Ohio State University's associate professor of microbial infection and immunology Dr. Amy Lovett-Racke, is studying the function of gut bacteria in patients with MS. Microbiology has become a hot topic in the scientific community in recent years and is believed to hold the answer to a number of conditions.

Meanwhile, other recipients include Dr. Anthony R. French, an associate professor of pediatrics, pathology, immunology and biomedical engineering at WUSTL, and Lauren M. Pachman, professor of pediatrics-rheumatology at Northwestern University. Both are currently studying juvenile dermatomyositis. Likewise, Dr. Gwendalyn Randolph, professor of pathology and immunology, immunobiology and internal medicine at WUSTL, and Dr. Razvan Arsenescuwere, the associate professor of internal medicine at Ohio State University, also were awarded grants for their research on intestinal fibrosis caused by Crohn’s disease.

biobankingToday, biobanking is an extremely common and valued aspect of medical research, considered vital to translational research products and medical innovation. Because of this, companies and organizations around the world now not only operate their own biobanks, but also invest a significant amount of effort increasing the size of their freezer inventory. The statistics show that these efforts have paid off: in 2000, the number of tissue samples in American biobanks alone was estimated to be more than 300 million, and is increasing by 20 million a year. However, a popular method of collecting these samples is now raising controversy about the ways we accumulate and manage this biological data.

Within the first few days of their life, roughly 98% of the four million or so babies born in the United States will have a small blood sample tested to screen for inherited conditions. However, the state agencies that conduct these screenings often continue to store these samples in biobanks long after. Parents are informed about the program, but the education process is controversial: already involved in the confusing and exhilarating experience of caring for a newborn, few receive written materials on the screening process or have the program explained to them in person.

Pediatric samples make up a significant portion of the biobanking industry's samples: around 44% of biobanks store biological data taken from children, slightly more than the 36% that use postmortem specimens. But as common as it is, many parents and lawmakers are concerned that children's genetic information has been collected and stored in a world where few laws control genetic privacy. And with laboratory sample management software now able to track both the samples themselves and additional data about the patient's family history and more, many are concerned that the samples could someday threaten a person's privacy. For this reason, the state of California is currently considering a DNA privacy bill.

Many biobanking experts will likely agree that these fears and concerns are overblown. After all, at the very least, around 80% of biobanks have some form of internal oversight boards to protect against privacy threats and other potential problems. But the DNA privacy bill in California highlights the need for changes in the way samples are collected and protected. For example, parents of newborns should receive more information on the sampling process and the benefits of screening in a more consistent and informative manner; the importance of detecting early conditions will likely ensure that most continue to participate in the program. Additionally, facilities should invest in the best possible biobanking software to properly track and protect their samples. These and other changes will help increase public trust in biobanks, allowing them to continue to advance medical and environmental research through their work.
biorepository managementScientists and researchers around the world rely on high-quality, properly-stored biological samples to allow them to study a variety of medical conditions and other issues. For this reason, many private and academic research centers keep biological samples, such as blood, plasma, saliva and purified DNA, on site for easy access. However, because of the sheer number of samples needed to conduct a number of different projects, these research centers need specific facilities to store and manage their total freezer inventory.

This is where biobanking centers come in: referred to as biorepository management facilities, biobanks collect, store and distribute biological materials, controlling huge amounts of data that are analyzed for numerous different purposes. Recently, the University of Arizona became the latest organization to invest in a biobank, simplifying the research process for its scientists and unaffiliated researchers who rely on samples to continue their work.

In previous years, UA had a number of different laboratories scattered around its campus, which made efficient sample management difficult. Now, the university has announced that it plans to build the Arizona Health Sciences Center Biorepository to rectify this problem. The biobank will store all of UA's samples in one location, which will be both delivered to the facility and collected by staff members.

Dr. David T. Harris, a professor of immunology, has been appointed to serve as the biobank's executive director. Harris has stated that he has many goals for the center, including collecting samples of populations unique to the American Southwest. He also hopes to consolidate, catalog and share samples across different campuses and research centers to improve access and expedite different studies. In regards to the latter goal, UA's biobank may benefit from biorepository management systems, defined as laboratory sample management software that allows researchers to search for appropriate samples, such as those from donors with specific medical conditions, for a particular study and transmit requests for the samples in question to be retrieved.
freezer software

The term "biobanking" refers to the process of collecting, storing and distributing human biological materials, such as blood, plasma, saliva, purified DNA and other specimens. These materials are a vital part of a field called translational medicine, in which biological samples are studied to hopefully yield information that can be translated into treatments. Translational research depends on properly preserved samples, making freezer software and laboratory sample management software important to many biobanks. However, obtaining and storing high-quality samples for this freezer software to use is not as straightforward as many researchers think.

Previous studies have shown that donors often have moral, religious and cultural concerns about how their samples are used, a fact that may affect their decision to donate or give blanket consent. However, a research team at Michigan State University noticed that the surveyed groups that had provided this data were not representative of the U.S. population. To re-examine this willingness, the team surveyed the GfK KnowledgePanel, a probability-based online panel of adults designed to represent the American population. Participants read an introductory description of a fictional biobank, then rated their willingness to donate on a six-point scale, which ranged from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree". They first rated their willingness on blanket consent, then answered a variety of "even if" style questions, which could present moral concerns. The researchers then gave the respondents short descriptions of the benefits and consequences of five methods of gaining consent, asking them to indicate which were acceptable, the best, and the worst.

In a study published in the January 27 issue of JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, the research team found that the majority of almost 1,600 individuals were willing to donate samples and medical information to a biobank. Moreover, most were willing to use blanket consent.

The team's final analysis included 1,559 of an original 2,654 participants. The respondents were typically older, Caucasian, had high levels of education and high household incomes. As many as 68% were willing to donate with blanket consent. However, moral concerns were associated with a significant reduction in willingness to donate in all but one scenario.

In light of their findings, the research team is arguing for increased use of blanket consent to appeal to potential donors and limit reduced donations. However, the overall willingness of Americans to donate samples came as no surprise to many: at the turn of the century, the number of tissue samples in U.S. biobanks alone was estimated at more than 300 million, and is increasing by 20 million a year. With these statistics, it's no wonder that so many companies are looking for better freezer software to manage their samples!

In recent years, translational medicine has drawn considerable attention, with laboratories around the world using biobanking technology to study everything from Alzheimer's disease to cancer. This research often requires extensive sample management systems to safely store and track the data being collected, but the facilities that engage in these studies often create jobs and yield information that can be used to create more effective medical treatments. For these reasons, the city of Kannapolis, North Carolina is currently planning to build a new biobanking center, a decision inspired by a new study researching disease patterns in the area.

Biobanks are defined as the repositories that collect, store and distribute human biological materials, including blood, plasma, saliva, purified DNA and other specimens. In many cases, these biorepositories will also keep a record of personal and health-related information connected to these samples, such as genetic data, health records, and family history, for use in various studies and research projects. Through the use of sample management systems and biobanking software, the facilities store huge amounts of data, which is managed, analyzed and later combined to support scientific needs. For the city of Kannapolis, which is the site of a $35 million project called the MURDOCK study, having such a research center in their area makes economic and scientific sense. Standing for the “Measurement to Understand the Reclassification of Disease of Cabarrus/Kannapolis," the study plans to use biological data and samples to study the genomic links within and across conditions like osteoarthritis, obesity, and heart disease.

Currently, the samples being collected from the 11,000 area residents enrolled in the study are being housed in a biobanking facility in Kannapolis. However, the city sees this as just the beginning: with the help of the North Carolina Research Campus, an organization dedicated to using scientific innovation to help a community's economic prosperity, the city plans to draw businesses and construct new biobanking facilities over the next several years. This could have a significant impact on Kannapolis, which suffered after a major manufacturer left town. Will the MURDOCK study help them turn things around? Will Kannapolis be the site of the next great discovery in genetic research? Only time will tell.

software

Biobanking and freezer software is used for a number of worthwhile causes, including the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Due to a recent change, the Los Alamos National Laboratory may be able to put these applications to good use: the lab recently updated their bioinformatics software, allowing healthcare professionals, researchers, and other users to quickly identify diseases and choose the proper therapies for conditions like cancer. This would allow them to analyze millions of samples that have been gathered and stored using biobanking software, hopefully yielding some helpful information for treatments and more.

Founded during World War II, the Los Alamos National Laboratory is one of the largest science and technology institutions in the world. While it was originally created to design nuclear weapons as part of the Manhattan Project, the facility now conducts multidisciplinary research in a number of different fields, including nanotechnology, medicine, and renewable energy. As part of the lab's medical research, the facility decided to upgrade to the latest version of its software, Sequedex.

While laboratory software is typically associated with lab sample tracking or freezer inventory, Sequedex is used to recognize patterns in short DNA sequences. Once recognized, the system associates them with specific functions and phylogeny, or evolutionary relationships. Los Alamos scientists compare the program to a web browser search, but instead of accessing online documents, the bioinformatics software uses its search terms to connect patterns to previously-identified genomes and DNA sequences.

Sequedex can reportedly classify fragments 250,000 times faster than other methods, making it a potentially useful tool in the field of translational research. Defined as a way to improve individual and communal health by "translating" findings into diagnostic tools, medicines, procedures, policies and education, translational medicine could use Sequedex's software to analyze millions of samples currently being preserved in biobanks around the world. And with the number of tissue samples alone increasing by 20 million a year, not to mention the genetic, physical, lifestyle, and family data that typically accompanies these samples, the Los Alamos National Laboratory has plenty of information to use. Will this software update lead to the next big medical discovery, or even new therapies for common conditions? Only time will tell.

software A significant part of scientific research is the collection of samples, collecting data, and drawing meaningful conclusions from that data. This might seem pretty straightforward, but anyone who has worked in a lab and overseen a high volume of samples knows that it isn't. One of the largest areas of research involves human samples, which require careful storing and inventory. At the turn of the century, there were more than 300 million tissue samples in biobanks in the United States alone, and that number grows by 20 million per year. Here's a short guide to biobanking, how it can be managed, and why management is so essential.

What is biobanking?

A biobank is basically just a repository for these samples to be collected in, stored in, and distributed from. These samples are biological materials like blood, plasma, purified DNA, saliva, and other specimens. Similarly, biobanks also hold such information and data as health records, genetic information, and lifestyle and family history. These are all stored for research in the medical and health fields.

Why is careful management of these samples and data so important?

Since there are so many samples and so much data, careful storage, freezer inventory, and careful management are essential. These samples are used for other research, so it's important that they stay organized, clearly labeled, well documented, and easily retrievable. These things are essential because research that uses these samples is often beneficial for the general public in the development of medications, procedures, diagnostic tools, education, and policies.

What is the best way to manage these samples and data?

Managing all of these samples and the associated data is too big a job for people to do, especially since accuracy is so important. This is why the development and use of biobanking software is essential. There are a number of web enabled types of software which feature management tools like e-notebooks, instant messaging, sample tracking software, lab management systems, reference management, and scientific and general online collaboration platforms. Do you have any other questions about biobanking, management, or biobanking software? Feel free to ask us in the comments section. Read More