Biobanking has come a long way in the past 30 or so years, developing from a “simple” freezer storage of samples to an elaborate process that not only looks at the complete lifecycle of biological material, but also at the related data that comes along with the samples. Gone are the days of just collecting samples with a freezer, a marker and an Excel file and in are state of the art software solutions dedicated to biobanking and cohort studies.
In addition, new capabilities are emerging to support and expand traditional biobanking, such as centralized inventory web catalogues for sharing biorepository samples and data with researchers and pharmaceutical or diagnostics companies. The large cohorts of clinical and genomic data enable biobanks to further build on their level of service, not only offering the samples, but also valuable information on life styles, illness patterns, gender, location and other information that is useful for researchers accessing this data. The above-mentioned data comes however often from different sources, requiring clean-up (curation) and standardization (ontology mapping), before it is uploaded to analytical programs that can manage the large amount of diverse data.
It is with this background that Modul-Bio and MediSapiens have decided to join forces, sharing their 25+ years of joint experience with biobanks and biomedical data to offer biobanks an end-to-end solution for all of their sample and data requirements.
Modul-Bio brings in its experience in managing the complete lifecycle of biological material and its related data. The MBioLIMS BioBanking® solution provides a modular approach to biobanking, enabling the expansion and fit of the system to match requirements. A complete audit trail is embedded within MBioLIMS BioBanking® which records all actions taken including user registration, who performed the action (create, modify, delete), date and time, and fields and values that have been modified. This covers sample movement, transformation to end points such as destruction to provide traceability and information that can be used in reports, audits and business improvement.
The modular design of a Biobank Information Management system allows clients to select and configure the entities that are integral to their work. This includes the standard auditing and sample tracking, but could include full storage and temperature tracking, studies including protocols and SOPs, e-CRF and clinical information to name just a few of the module options.
With programs such as the 100K Genome project in the UK, and the FinnGen program in Finland gaining ground and providing examples of sharing data, biobanks are also more and more inclined to open up and share their collections with researchers. Easy-to-use portals, often combining multiple collections, are then a must with solutions such as eMBioBANK® providing biobanks with tools to enhance their services. eMBioBANK® is a centralized biospecimen inventory web catalogue for sharing biorepository sample collections with researchers, enabling easy search and request features.
The increase of population data hosted by biobanks is fuelled by the ever-increasing availability of electronic healthcare data, be this genomic and/or clinical. Biobanks are struggling to host and manage the ever-increasing data cohorts. Costs and scalability are key in this all, as well as ease-of-use (finding items!) and smooth integration with other applications. Preferably, the solution also enables further expansion with applications to further widen the service model of the biobank, for instance with the above-mentioned eMBioBANK® portal, but also with curation, ontology mapping and (multi-omics) analytical and visual applications. This all ensures that the data is widely available to researchers in a controlled, secured manner with the highest possible data quality. MediSapiens provides some example solutions for this, through its flexible Genius© technology enabling scalable management of ever-growing cohorts of data. A good example of the data challenges faced by biobanks is the largest private biobank in Finland, which aims to unlock 30 years of patient data for research and more targeted care. Using Genius©, fast, cost-effective queries can be made with the ~9 million patients files, identifying patients that are at a higher risk for certain diseases. However, as is usually the case with (especially) older data, a thorough clean-up of the data is required before an effective query and analysis can be done. For this purpose, highly automated curation technology is included (in this case MediSapiens’ Accurate©) as part of the workflow to ensure the best possible results and compatibility of all data.
With the further expansion of responsibilities and requirements of biobanks to satisfy the current and future needs of research, more elaborate integrated solutions are required, that can provide an end-to-end solution to biobanks in a flexible and cost-effective manner. With the partnering of Modul-Bio and MediSapiens biobanks can now enjoy that complete lifespan of requirements through modern, cost-effective and highly efficient technology.
Mike Woodward, Business Development Manager at Modul-Bio. ”It is exciting to co-operate with MediSapiens to further these goals. A biobank management system can organise and audit actions throughout each sample lifecycle, and create a framework of patient, sample, storage and protocol data together for immediate needs, and for future use“
“We’re very enthusiastic to work with Modul-Bio” states Hans Garritzen, Sales Director of MediSapiens, “bringing our technologies and know-how together enables us to provider biobank clients a complete end-to-end solution, opening up new opportunities to benefit of all the samples and data available to find cures for diseases”.