What is the Function of a Biorepository

What is the Function of a Biorepository

Nov 24th 2021

A biorepository is a facility that houses large collections of tissue products and other biological samples. The biological materials are collected, cataloged, and then stored for sometimes long periods for research. The specimens are comprised of tissues and blood samples collected from plants, animals, humans, and other cell-based living organisms. The collection and housing of living organisms allow scientists to develop cell lines that contribute to many important applications such as novel drug development and therapeutic discoveries.

Biorepositories in Clinical Research

Biorepositories play a unique role within the clinical research ecosystem. They are located all over the globe and often work in a collaborative function with major educational institutions. They specialize in both the housing and the distribution of multiple sample types to various clinical research outfits. The collection of samples may be derived from urine, blood, saliva, tissues, RNA, DNA, fingernails, and bone.

There are many arms to a biorepository surrounding how they collect, ship, and retrieve tissue products. While many biorepositories operate under more than one heading, the efforts to network according to collection type are well underway. A few of the subcategories

  • Disease-Centric
    • Storage Infrastructure
    • Cell-line Development and Characterization
    • Raw Material Testing
    • Analytics
    • Next-Generation Sequencing
    • Virus Characterization
    • Immunoassays
    • Biomanufacturing
    • Bioprocessing
    • Genetic Engineering
  • Despite the ensuite of services and products, large-scale specimen storage is the main function of most biorepositories. They specialize in housing many different types of biospecimens and distribute them to clients upon request.

    How Are Biospecimens Stored?

    Freezing biospecimens at cold temperatures (-20ºC, -80ºC to −190°C) represents the gold standard for most stored specimens. Best practices also indicate that most biospecimens should be stored in a stabilized state Individual types of biospecimens should be handled according to SOPs specific to the biospecimen type and the biomolecules to be analyzed — e.g., ribonucleic acid (RNA), deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), protein, and lipids. In selecting biospecimen storage temperature, consideration should be given to the biospecimen type, the anticipated length of storage, the biomolecules of interest, and whether study goals include preserving viable cells.

    Handling

    Unnecessary thawing and refreezing of frozen biospecimens or frozen samples of biomolecules extracted from the biospecimens are discouraged. Additionally, appropriate sizes for aliquots and samples should be determined in advance to avoid thawing and refreezing of biospecimens.

    When thawing/refreezing is necessary, a biospecimen handler should follow consistent and validated protocols (SOPs) to ensure product stability. Methods such as inventory tracking should be established to minimize disruption of the stable environment during sample retrieval; this is a requirement for accrediting agencies.

    Storage Parameters

    Liquid biospecimen storage, such as blood, consideration should be given to produce components such as plasma or serum, which should be separated before storage to preserve each constituent under its optimal condition. Whole blood (rather than fractionated blood) cryopreservation may be an efficient and cost-effective option for processing viable cells in large-scale studies.

    FFPE tissue storage is a bit unique. For optimal preservation, formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue should be stored as a block and not sliced until an analysis is imminent because degradation will occur under even the best storage conditions.

    Cold-Storage Options for Biorepositories: Partnering with K2 Scientific

    Large-scale cold-storage planning of a biorepository requires detailing the types of specimens being stored. Most experts in the field suggest that housing should be reflective of the environment and purpose. In some instances, under-counter units may be a good fit for small processing areas or to accommodate overflow in between retrieval and processing duties. A wide scope of cold-storage units is also important such as ultra-low and low-temperature models in addition to standard freezer and refrigeration temperature models.

    Whatever the need, K2 Scientific offers the most comprehensive inventory of medical freezers at competitive price points. We are dedicated to assisting our scientific partners with their cold-storage needs. Contact us for more information.

Recent Posts

What is the Function of a Biorepository

What is the Function of a Biorepository

A biorepository is a facility that houses large collections of tissue products and other biological … read more
Streamlining the Cold-Chain Storage of Research Samples: What to Freeze, What to Store at Room Temperature

Streamlining the Cold-Chain Storage of Research Samples: What to Freeze, What to Store at Room Temperature

OverviewAs the world continues to roll-out aggressive COVID-19 vaccines initiatives, an even larger … read more
Understanding the Urgency of Laboratory Grade Refrigeration and Freezers in Clinical Applications

Understanding the Urgency of Laboratory Grade Refrigeration and Freezers in Clinical Applications

OverviewLet’s face it, the role of laboratory grade refrigeration and freezers isn’t exactly the con … read more