The Growing Public Health Concern Surrounding Zika

Over the past several weeks, the Zika virus has morphed from an obscure disease into an international public health emergency, gaining global attention. This has left the public health research community with many questions; Where did the disease originate? How is it transmitted? How do we work together to develop and distribute a vaccine?

In this blog we'll explore the existing information surrounding the Zika virus and some of the challenges associated with vaccine development.

Topic: Biobanking and Biorepository, Topic: Cold-C..........

What You Need to Know About The Biomarkers Consortium

Established in 2006, The Biomarkers Consortium (BC) is a public-private partnership whose mission is to identify, develop and seek regulatory approval for new biological markers (biomarkers) to accelerate the detection, diagnosis and treatment of many diseases. These biomarkers support the development of new preventative medical measures, medical diagnostics and drug development.

Topic: Biobanking and Biorepository, Topic: Clinic..........

Researchers Propose a Validated Phenotyping Algorithm for Genetic Association Studies in Age-related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss among people aged 50 and older. This multifactorial neurodegenerative disease damages the macula, responsible for sharp central vision. Rapid advancement of DNA sequencing technologies has allowed researchers to identify many AMD-associated genetic polymorphisms. However, phenotyping and patient recruitment are currently the most time-consuming steps facing researchers performing this work. Patient identification and DNA collection are often the rate-limiting steps in genetic association studies.

Facilitated by the rapid growth of electronic medical record (EMR)-linked DNA biorepositories, patient selection algorithms can improve efficiency in genetic association studies.

In this blog, we'll discuss a new study, published in Nature, where researchers show that using stepwise validation of such an algorithm could provide reliable cohort selection outcomes and, when networked with an EMR-linked DNA biorepository, replicate previously published AMD-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).

Topic: Biobanking and Biorepository, Topic: Clinic..........

Does Your Biosample Pre-analytical Process Measure Up?

In our previous blogs, we've discussed some challenges and issues associated with biobank samples, particularly the variations in collection and handling procedures (pre-analytical variables) that can significantly influence various downstream analyses or applications.  Many studies and discussions have focused on  this particular matter. To this end, I am excited to share and discuss some of the recent updates from several groups in the biobanking community.


Topic: Biobanking and Biorepository, Content: Blog

Know Your Samples – How Resilient are your Biomarkers?

biobanking samples

For all types of biomarker research, whether academic studies or clinical trials, the target analytes within your samples are the most important elements to safeguard. No matter if it’s as simple as the pH of a serum sample or as specific as the quaternary structure of a protein complex, any biomarker can be affected and potentially compromised by a number of external factors, most easily temperature.

Topic: Laboratory Processing, Content: Blog

Minimizing Your Sample Freeze/Thaw Cycle to Maintain Sample Integrity

Laboratory_Processing_Digram_to_Aliquot_or_NotIn designing clinical studies, much thought is given to controlling for clinical and demographic variability. For example, a well-designed study will carefully enroll patients of a particular disease type, stage, and treatment regimen. In addition, for each of these variables there will be determinations made as to how many patients of what age, sex, and ethnicity should be included in each of the clinical groups. By carefully considering the sample size needed for each variable, clinicians target specific and meaningful data when analyzing the results.

Topic: Laboratory Processing, Content: Blog

Maximizing the Value of Longitudinal Studies, Part II

clinical trial sample managementClick here if you did not read part I of this blog post. I discussed the need for epidemiological studies to include biospecimen collection, to help make possible the search for biomarkers and development of new diagnostics. In part II, I would like to discuss the opposite problem: biospecimens that lack associated epidemiological data.

Topic: Biobanking and Biorepository, Content: Blog

Maximizing the Value of Longitudinal Studies, Part I

clinical trial sample managementThe value of large cohort studies in discerning the subtle etiology of disease is contingent on a variety of factors, perhaps most importantly, the study design. Participant sample numbers need to be high enough across all of the multiplicity of variables that will be examined. In addition, if these studies are to be used to to discover new biomarkers that could predict disease development, prognosis and response to specified treatment regimen, they must also incorporate collection of biospecimens from their participants. To move beyond discovery of disease associated biomarkers into early diagnosis and treatment, the new biomarkers must be validated both in the laboratory and in the clinic, and further studies requiring biospecimen collection must be initiated.  Unfortunately, however, pre-diagnostic biospecimens of certain cancers and other rare diseases are especially difficult to find, thus finding very early predictors of disease frequently go undiscovered.

Topic: Biobanking and Biorepository, Content: Blog