The National Biosample Centre (NBC) is operated by the UK Biocentre as a not-for-profit organisation and was established by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) in the UK. The National Biosample Centre makes extensive use of software and automation systems for consistent, high throughput sample processing. The mission is to be a centre of excellence in sample management and to be an indispensable component of the UK science infrastructure. The goal of the organisation is not to hold intellectual property (IP), but to ensure the best management of the samples. The organisation provides a logistical infrastructure that allows investigators to deliver the study objectives. Experience gained from the UK biobank is directly applied to the operations of the NBC with an ethos that medical research comes first. Capabilities include generating sample collection kits, extracting DNA/RNA, sample storage, and quality management.
The NBC can assemble sample collection kits with collection tubes, barcodes, and report/ consent forms that are tailored to a project. Shipping and reporting logistics are also provided. Logistics advice includes optimal shipping frequency, compliant packaging, managing collections, biobank relocations, occupied liquid nitrogen storage tank relocation, temperature monitoring. The NBC can process hundreds of clinical samples daily including automated nucleic acid extraction. A complete audit trail is created with a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS).
Sample storage ranges from 4ºC to -196ºC. Sample picking from storage is high speed and robotic. There is the capacity to create backup collections. Power is backed up and there is a dedicated always available call out facilities team.
The NBC can also assist with study design including advising on labware, designing processes and outputs, designing “end-to-end” studies, and supporting grant applications with budget, timelines and processes. Once initiated the NBC can also project and process manage with dedicated managers, LIMS, and audit trail. The NBC maintains quality by adhering to ISO9001:2015.