Biobanking is a critical element of modern medical research and treatment, offering medical professionals, pharmaceutical developers and those in similar roles the opportunity to advance scientific and medical research in many beneficial and important ways.
Although ethics related to biobanking is the most high-profile concern for the organisations that operate these repositories, there's a much more practical issue that professionals in this space need to address: effective and consistent monitoring. Without the right solutions in place to ensure carefully calibrated safety and storage conditions are met at all times, samples can easily lose their usefulness. Following best practices for biobanking ensures facilities can comply with audits of their operations and helps to improve the dependability of results tied to biobanked materials.
Identifying relevant best practices for your biobank
In a guidance document developed to support strong biobank management, the Government of South Australia's Department of Health and Wellbeing identified some key differences between various types of biobanks. Smaller banks may focus on a specific health concern, type of population or research group. Larger facilities may offer a wide range of biosamples to many different scientific and medical professionals based on the relevance of the material to their specific projects. These major differences can have a substantial influence on the ethical and operational rules that biobanks must adhere to, as well as the operational practices they put into place.
However, there are certain factors that unite all biobanks, regardless of their size or intended purpose. Maintaining an atmosphere conducive to safe storage in the short and long term is especially relevant in this context. Biobanks need strong oversight of key factors like temperature and relative humidity in storage areas to ensure samples remain safe, stable and useful.
Documentation is similarly important when it comes to best practices for monitoring. Records of proper storage and maintenance of the systems used to keep samples viable may be required as part of an auditing process or when attempting to identify where a breakdown occurred in maintaining the integrity of samples. Although some issues are inevitable, biobanks can do their part to mitigate any problems directly related to their own operations by engaging in effective and comprehensive monitoring.
While manual or semi-automated processes can be used to document temperature, relative humidity and similarly crucial factors, these processes leave too much room for error. Even if staff constantly adhere to the schedule and process for temperature checks, which cannot be guaranteed, they may accidentally record an incorrect figure due to the potential for simple human error. Using fully automated solutions for monitoring offers some critical benefits:
- Consistently accurate records that can be securely stored for as long as is needed, helping organisations remain prepared for audits.
- Identification of and alerts related to errors and issues, helping biobanks act before they encounter more serious or costly problems.
- Better insight into operations on the micro and macro levels.
Finding effective support for your monitoring needs
The value of the right solutions for environmental monitoring at biobanks is clear. These instruments help biobanks of all sizes follow critical best practices that apply to them regardless of their size or specific purpose.
Testo offers a complete digital solution for monitoring in the form of testo Saveris, including sensor technology, services and software, that enables better and more consistent monitoring at the level biobanks need to ensure smooth operations and full compliance with regulations and audits. To learn more, get in touch with the team at Testo today.