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A Paradigm Shift in Biobanking: The Future of Cell Preservation Strategies

Once considered “old school,” cryopreservation is going through another scientific and technological development growth phase. Today’s new cryopreservation processes and products promise to deliver disruptive technologies to discovery science, stem cell research, diagnostics and personalized medicine; forever changing the future of cell preservation strategies.

Cell preservation has evolved from simple, often poorly annotated private collections of clinical specimens to highly organized and well-annotated collections maintained by commercial and not-for-profit organizations. Currently, the focus of cell preservation strategies is from government and international agencies on the activities of biobanks, specifically on the need to adopt best practices and to provide scientific, legal and ethical guidelines for the biopreservation industry. Cell preservationists still focus on fulfilling the immediate post-thaw viability needs of today’s researchers.

Topic: Biobanking and Biorepository, Topic: Cell T..........

The Evolution of Public Health Research: Snow’s Dilemma

Since the dawn of humanity, we have observed nature and hypothesized reasons behind how and why things happen. With the development of civilization, we standardized the methods with which we test, observe, and analyze nature, and this gave birth to the field of science. As far as the defined field of study now known as Epidemiology and Public Health, it can be argued that it began in 1854, with a cholera outbreak in the Soho district of London and a physician named John Snow (who knew more than nothing).

Topic: Biobanking and Biorepository, Topic: Public..........

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..........

Maximizing the Value of Biospecimens to Deliver New Therapies

In his position as Director and Head of Sample Management, Dr. Green is faced with a number of challenges, including AstraZeneca's transition from their research and development center in northwestern England, to a new research center to be built in Cambridge. The greater challenge going forward is, from Dr. Green's perspective, maximizing value from the biospecimens in the collection. This involves, among other issues, closing the gap in inventory management methods between the small molecule world and the world of biospecimens.

In this interview, Clive shares his perspective on biobanking, as it compares to managing a small molecule inventory, and challenges in the biospecimen supply chain.

Topic: Biobanking and Biorepository, Content: eBoo..........

Avoiding Hemolysis in Blood Sample Collection and Processing

Depending on your point of view, red blood cells, or erythrocytes, are throwaways and a nuisance, ruining a good blood specimen if the cells burst and contaminate the sample. On the other hand, erythrocytes have significant value in specific types of research, and if your objective is biobanking these cells in an intact state, then hemolysis and the need for a re-draw is equally as much to be avoided.

Erythrocyte cell membranes rupture easily, releasing hemoglobin and flooding the sample with potassium and other internal components. Fortunately, breakage of erythrocytes is easy to detect, as the hemoglobin turns the serum or plasma sample from pink to red, depending on the number of cells that have lysed.

Hemolysis is a primary driver of the need for re-draw, resulting in wasted time and resources. How can hemolysis be prevented?

Topic: Biobanking and Biorepository, Topic: Labora..........

Amazing Samples: The Window to the Soul

I’m not sure about you, but the only time I really think about what’s in my eyes is when I sit up quickly and end up seeing floaters. Well, that, and any time I think about having crystals at the head of my optic nerves… but the American Academy of Ophthalmology says there’s nothing to worry about too much.

However, just as with any other part of the body, eyes have a wealth of information, and some interesting treatments have come up around them. Last time in our Amazing Samples blog series, we discussed curry the interesting applications of bone marrow research – this time, let’s take a long hard gander at ocular research.

Topic: Biobanking and Biorepository, Topic: Cell T..........

Informed Consent for Use of De-Identified Biospecimens?

The Federal Government is revising the rules governing use of humans in research, specifically, Title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 46, Protection of Human Subjects. A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) was issued September 5, and comments are being accepted until December 7, 2015.

Changes in the rulings include new requirements for informed consent, including consent for the use of de-identified patient biospecimens, and the duties of Institutional Review Boards.

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

Top Translational Researchers of 2014

Nature recently released its list of the top 20 translational researchers for 2014, highlighting scientists whose work and patents facilitate new discoveries and advances in medicine and healthcare. The publication ranked biotech's top translational researchers according to patenting activity, using information supplied by the patent analytics firm, IP Checkups. This research directly impacts the role of personalized medicine and will help to identify the future wave of biotherapeutics and diagnostic tools in our industry. In this blog we'll review some of the research from five of these top researchers, and learn how their research is shaping our future.

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

Tackling Global Health Initiatives and HIV/AIDS at the PEPFAR Roundtable

Global health initiatives work to assess, monitor, and ultimately effect positive improvements in the well-being of citizens around the world. The battle against the spread of HIV/AIDs is one that has been in the news for decades and with organizations like the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), global leaders are working together to combat this disease.

Recently, Thermo Fisher Scientific teamed up with the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU) to host a roundtable discussion between leaders in the Global Health industry and Ambassador Deborah Birx, the US Global AIDS Coordinator in charge of overseeing and leading PEPFAR. PEPFAR is widely cited as the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease in history and is one of the most successful global health programs in the world.

In this blog I’ll give some insight into the roundtable discussion and review some of the key points global health leaders are addressing for those affected by HIV/AIDS.

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

A New Class of Immunotherapeutics: Using Oncolytic Viruses to Treat Cancer

Scientists have noted the ability of viruses to kill tumor cells for almost a century but have been unable to document the therapeutic use of these viruses in patients with cancer. Interest in this approach is growing, supported by advancing knowledge of viral biology, molecular genetics and tumor immunology. Oncolytic virus immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses viruses to replicate within cancer cells.

In this blog, we’ll briefly explore how viruses, specifically oncolytic viruses, are being used to treat cancer.

Topic: Biobanking and Biorepository, Topic: Cell T..........

Developing Immunotherapies for Cell-Based vs. Non Cell-Based Therapies

Immunotherapies harness the power of the body's own defense mechanism, the immune system, to combat disease. They were initially introduced in the form of non cell-based biologics and vaccines, such as the splurge of products known as the check-point inhibitors designed to target the PD1/PD-L1 immune pathway. An individual would be injected with a weakened form of a virus, exposing the body to the disease and prompting the immune system to produce antibodies to fight the infection from the live virus. In recent years, immunotherapies are expanding into the realm of cell and gene therapy. Cell therapy includes re-engineering the T-cell or immune cells and re-delivering these cells back the patient to treat the cancer.

Both cell-based therapies and non cell-based therapies are developed as immunotherapies and therefore they share some similar challenges in development. However, due to the nature of cell-based therapies manufacturing complexities, there are several additional challenges that must be considered. In this blog we'll take a closer look as some of the challenges that cell-based and non-cell based therapies face, and why cell-based therapies are so complex.

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

Amazing Samples: Bone Marrow

When I was young, my father tried to teach me to eat everything put on my plate (though it was an uphill battle, since I was quite the finicky child). One of the few “bizarre” foods that I took a liking to, though, was sucking the marrow out of goat, lamb, or beef curries (my father was clearly not a devout Hindu). Even now, it’s one of my favorite parts of such dishes, and I recently added San Diego to my travel wish list if just to eat swordfish marrow (thanks for the tip, Andrew Zimmern).

But that’s clearly not what we’re going to talk about right now. Everyone knows that human bone marrow is rich in stem cells, specifically hematopoietic. In fact, without research on bone marrow, stem cells might not be as well understood, and accordingly we might not have reached the current burgeoning development in the cell therapy field. Last time in our Amazing Samples blog series, we discussed the value of adipose tissue cells. This time, let’s savor the rich history of bone marrow research.

… Man, I should cook some curry.

Topic: Biobanking and Biorepository, Topic: Cell T..........