By Tejas Athni
Stanford Biobank, a sample management center that provides Stanford faculty with common biological samples ranging from skin biopsies to blood cells, has recently launched new services to better track, protect and share resources while maintaining patient anonymity.
One new service is a biospecimen management system that tracks the location of barcoded samples. Under the new system, samples correspond to patient health records across various university information systems, such as REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture) and Epic (an electronic patient health record).
Additionally, new off-site freezer storage options, located in California’s Central Valley, offer distribution of samples back and forth to Stanford as well as 24/7 temperature monitoring. This service frees up expensive campus lab space for other uses, such as equipment and work space. It also reduces the risk of sample destruction due to natural disasters such as fires and earthquakes.
Biobank executive director Rohit Gupta and his team have also developed BioCatalyst, a secure website that currently provides access to all of the data for a particular biological sample. The second phase of the project, launching in 2020, aims to provide researchers with integrated tools to visualize and manage molecular and multiomics data.
Taken together, these services aim to facilitate and increase global research collaboration. The biobank provides researchers with a platform to share disease and specimen data, reducing the time involved in collection and analysis.
“Modern-day biobanks are critical to accelerated global efforts in precision health,” Gupta told Stanford Medicine in 2017. “They link unique biological specimens to databases of associated clinical and assay data … ultimately advancing biomarker research and future diagnostics and therapeutics.”
Contact Tejas Athni at tathni ‘at’ stanford.edu.