Proper biological sample management is integral to the accuracy and applicability of scientific studies, particularly in clinical trials. From the tools and instruments used to conduct the process as well as how the procedures are performed themselves, many interconnected factors can simplify biological sample management.
Your laboratory information management system (LIMS) should be more than a simple sample management tool. It can be the key to effectively managing an array of different lab informatics, helping to preserve clinical data integrity, maximize resource efficiency, and ultimately reduce operational costs. Achieving these goals requires careful consideration of every facet of your sample tracking solution, beyond merely the LIMS software of choice. There are a range of products and services available that can dramatically enhance your ability to track and access samples, reducing human error and enhancing your overall efficiency. These tools range from sample tracking software to tube rack readers, as well as 2D barcode tubes encoded with reliable, uniquely identifying information.
Compound management isn’t what is used to be. Until the 1970s, most research laboratories deployed fairly primitive storage, tracking, and dispensing strategies. Labels were handwritten and tracking was carried out using physical logbooks, with little-to-no logistics to speak of. The advent of computing offered an alternative to this imperfect status quo and the eventual development of internet-based interconnectivity laid the groundwork for a paradigm shift in how chemical laboratories were managed for drug discovery workflows.
Biobanking is a critical factor in both genomic and personalized research, providing cross-purpose access to extremely large datasets—which evidently requires a robust sample management system. Sometimes referred to as a laboratory information management system (LIMS), biobank sample management software is essential in ensuring samples are efficiently controlled and information is managed accurately. But there are now myriad systems available for biological sample management. So, what features should you look for when choosing a sample management system for your biobank operations?
Biological specimen tube selection and labeling is a critical part of maintaining the validity and reliability of test results. Read on to find out more.
Effective sample management underlies the reliability and validity of any research carried out in laboratory settings. The quality of your results is incumbent on the quality of your samples, which is—in turn—determined by the efficacy of your sample management workflow. You risk compromising valuable data if you do not collect samples carefully, or record and store them precisely.
The term sample management is used to describe an entire workflow comprising the selection, collection, storage, and retrieval of samples plus their relevant data. It is essential to achieve optimal process and quality control (QC) in the laboratory, and if any step in the sample management chain is overlooked, it can have costly ramifications.
The central tenets of biobanking – data/sample collection, processing, storage, and providing access for researchers – have proven indispensable throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Even before the virus was properly characterised and defined as a coronavirus with a similar morphology to MERS and SARS, biobanks were leveraged for the storage of bronchoalveolar lavage fluids from patients with the as-yet unknown strain of viral pneumonia.
Cryogenic storage vials are central to biological sample management, enabling researchers to retain numerous organic specimens at ultra-cool temperatures. Scientists around the globe have been using high-performance cryotubes for decades. In fact, they have been crucial in enabling the enormous capacity for storing irreplaceable samples that all biobanks enjoy today. Although evidently representing extreme value, the ability to store hundreds, thousands or even millions of biological specimens represents a challenge from an information management perspective.
Efficient sample management centres on the ability to rapidly identify specific samples in your workflow with ease. Prior to the widespread implementation of two-dimensional (2D) datamatrix barcodes on sample tubes, it was difficult to quickly and effectively select specific sample tubes from potentially hundreds – if not thousands, or even millions – of others.