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Registry and Biorepository Bulletin
Brought to you by Genetic Alliance Registry & BioBank
26 October 2012 Issue #31


Lifecycle of Biospecimens

Biospecimens have become an integral part of modern genomic science. However, biospecimen molecular profiles can be dynamically altered by collection, handling, and storage processes. Different methods of acquisition can introduce stress and trauma to the biospecimen, and everything, from temperature to the fixative used, can impact biospecimen vitality. Great care must be used in storing and distributing biospecimens, as inadvertent errors in handling can result in alterations to biospecimen quality. After analysis, unused biospecimens are restocked, and unpredictable environmental changes can be introduced, resulting in a radically different biospecimen from the one first collected. Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research Branch (BBRB) has developed an interactive timeline that explains the biospecimen lifecycle, and what can happen to a biospecimen during acquisition, processing, storage, and distribution.

Minimum Data Set for Sharing Biobank Samples

To promote sharing of biobank data and samples across biobanks, a minimal dataset is required. BBMRI has created a Minimum Information About Biobank Data Sharing (MIABIS), consisting of 52 attributes defining biobank contents. The initial data set consists of 21 attributes describing three levels of categorization, a biobank level, a study level, and an object level. The remaining 31 attributes further define the data. MIABIS is intended to standardize data elements used to outline a biobank’s contents on an aggregate level and to facilitate data discovery across multiple biobanks. It is not intended to standardize data on an individual sample or subject level. As such, MIABIS lacks information about sample degradation, and other sample specific information. Adopting standards is an important step towards stimulating research collaborations across biobanks, accelerating innovation, and facilitating the discovery and use of underutilized samples. MIABIS was recently published in Biobanking and Biopreservation.

Biorepository Marketing Webinar Archived

We asked three experts to share their experiences about marketing their biorepository collections and making samples available to researchers. Many organizations spend large amounts of time, effort, and resources building their sample collections, and limited resources are spent marketing these collections to researchers. Science will not advance if biospecimen collections sit unused in the freezer. View the webinar archive to learn strategies for marketing your biobank collection effectively to researchers.

BioCor Short Course Opportunity

Preservation of molecular, cellular and tissue biospecimens will be available on demand through December 31, 2012. Topics covered include: liquid storage, cryopreservation, fundamentals of preservation, protocol development, debugging protocols, repository design, protein preservation, tissue preservation, clinical preservation, quality control, regulatory issues and more. For more information, contact BioCor. This course has been endorsed by ISBER.

Upcoming Meetings

ISBER (International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories) is now accepting abstracts for its 2013 Annual Meeting, May 5-9, in Sydney, Australia. The abstract submission deadline is November 15, 2012.


Edited by Jeremiah Sarella, Liz Horn, and Sharon Terry

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