Storage of biospecimens for research, scientific investigations and experiments requires placement in a biorepository, and animal, human, and other life form specimens can be stored and preserved for scientific study. National and international guidelines have been specified to ensure the quality and integrity of biorepositories in order to protect biospecimens and provide better quality materials for successful research.
What Is A Biorepository?
A biorepository is a temperature controlled storage site for the collection of biospecimens of human and animal origins. Specimens can be collected from single or multiple sources and stored or archived for rapid aggregation and retrieval. Data banks, tissue banks and registries for the collection and distribution of human or animal tissue for scientific research are stored in repositories.
Standardized methods are critical to the collection of high quality biological and environmental specimens. International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (SBER) members follow a standard of “best practices” for repositories, indicating the level of operation is higher than the standard procedure and the most effective practice available. Activities promoting the “best practices” process include the fostering of collaborations, educational opportunities, training seminars, the availability of research findings, and cutting-edge technology. Biorepositories maintain the biological specimens needed for scientific and medical research purposes. This process requires the ability to standardize collection methods, provide long-term storage, and retrieve specimens for distribution.
Tissue, plasma, blood, and urine are biospecimens that can be taken from the human body and used for research, diagnosis, and analysis. A small amount of any specimen can be stored for later use. After processing, the specimens become human biospecimens.
In addition to Pacific Bio-Material Management Incorporated’s (PBMMI) membership in ISBER, PBMMI also engages in eco-friendly practices to reduce their carbon footprint. Their new facility, because of its contiguity to the Pacific Ocean, experiences reasonably cool weather for a good portion of the year and allows for the use of an eco-friendly air ventilation system designed specifically for the facility’s location.
Pacific Bio-Storage defines “being green” as providing a necessary component of a secure and reliable system for their clients. “All our facilities feature redundant systems,” stated Mr. Michael Lebbin, PBMMI’s CEO, “from environmental control and security, to back-up freezers, emergency power generators, and back-up LN2 and air conditioning systems.”
A number of activities are associated with a biorepository, including the following:
- The collection and preparation of biological materials
- Regular updating of health information
- Human biospecimen storage and data management
- Committee reviews and oversight
- Distribution of specimens
Biobanking is a global practice involving a vast network of biorepositories around the world. Many of the human specimens (biopsies kept in storage) are used in medical research in experimental studies for cures of Alzheimer’s, basal cell carcinoma, bladder cancer, bone cancer, brain cancer, Hodgkins and non-Hodgkins lymphoma, leukemia, and other serious and debilitating diseases. Research hospitals and medical universities need additional storage facilities outside of their physical locations for the freezing and storage of supplementary biomaterial samples used in their work.
Efficient biobanking requires foolproof tracking, which includes data matrix barcoded labels that convert to a barcode to simplify tracking.