Controlling Preanalytical Variability in Biospecimen Collections

Large, well-designed population studies and the interrelationships they reveal are the backbone of public health and serve as a foundation for medical research. The health and lifestyle information of participants, collected via questionnaire and linked to their biospecimen samples, allow investigators to examine the intricate relationships between genetics, physiology, behavior, environment, and disease.

Content: eBook, Topic: Public Health Research

Factors Affecting Participation Rates in Population-Based Biobanking

A systematic review and meta-analysis of baseline participation rates and their determinants performed by van Zon et al. (2016) found that recruitment methods and design affect participation rates.1 Population-based biobanks are essential platforms for innovation and knowledge generation in health care research, specifically in regards to how we prevent, treat and cure widespread diseases. Therefore, willingness to participate from the population is pivotal if biobank studies are to continue to contribute to public health research.

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

The Evolution of Public Health Research: HIV/AIDS

No one reading this blog was alive when John Snow created his famed cholera map of Soho, or when Robert Koch discovered M. tuberculosis. Many of us weren’t alive, much less paying attention to scientific studies, when the Framingham Heart Study was published to link cigarettes to lung cancer. But there’s one epidemic that everyone should be familiar with. One that was extensively covered in the media, that aspiring children dreamed of curing, that has inspired so many award-winning movies, that was declared a threat to national security.

Topic: Public Health Research, The Evolution of Pu..........

How to Maintain Sample Integrity During Sample Transfer

The data that lies within your biospecimen collections holds the keys to your research and, as we’ve discussed previously, it’s imperative to maintain proper temperature to ensure sample integrity.  This is a challenge ordinarily, but even more so when attempting to transfer samples.

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

Flawed Study Design—the Other “Pre-Analytical Variable” in Biomarker Research

Why are we failing to find biomarkers for early detection of disease?  Throughout our blog we write a great deal about biospecimen integrity and emphasize the control of pre-analytical variability in biospecimens. However, the highest quality biospecimens are wasted in the search for biomarkers if the study design is flawed. And the literature on biomarker discovery studies is filled with examples of poor study design, creating an overabundance of false positives that cannot be validated.

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

Amazing Samples: Water

Water – the universal solvent. The all known life on our planet requires it to function, not directly because of water itself, as much as its ability to transport other compounds and ions, and facilitate metabolic reactions. That’s why human civilization itself is based on water, both in determining where people settled, as well as whether they live.

Topic: Biobanking and Biorepository, Topic: Amazin..........

The Evolution of Public Health: Virchow, DOTS-plus, and the Economics of Tuberculosis (Part 2)

After the discovery of Streptomycin in the 1940s, followed by isoniazid in the 1950s and later rifampin in the 1970s, the incidence of TB in the developed world dropped dramatically. Sanatoria closed and research into new antibiotics and vaccines likewise diminished. TB was no longer considered a significant threat in the US and much of Europe. So when multiple drug-resistant strains of TB (MDR-TB) appeared in the 1980s, the concern within the infectious disease community was perhaps understated. Besides, all but a small number of cases were in underdeveloped countries where the very high cost and difficulty of treating MDR-TB was considered beyond reach.

Topic: Public Health Research, The Evolution of Pu..........

The Evolution of Public Health: Virchow, DOTS-plus, and the Economics of Tuberculosis (Part 1)

In all of human history, tuberculosis has killed more people than any other disease. Discovered in 1882 by Robert Koch, the M. tuberculosis bacterium was responsible for the Great White Plague that began in the 1600s and has not yet truly ended. It was the primary cause of death in Europe in the mid-1600s, and even in the 1800s, the high mortality from TB among young adults earned it the nickname of “the romantic disease,” which glosses over the symptoms that earned TB other nicknames such as “consumption", “phthisis" (bless you), and "scrofula".

Topic: Public Health Research, The Evolution of Pu..........

The Microbiome of the Skin and Beyond: The MoBE

Our skin is not only our largest organ, and the surface through which we experience the world, it is also a complex ecosystem in its own right. Grice et al (2008)1 estimated that more than a million micro-organisms of more than a hundred distinct species reside on a square centimeter of skin. The recent research into the microbiome of the skin shows that we have not only a great diversity of microorganisms in our skin microbiome, but also a high degree of variation from individual to individual. And although research into the interactions between the skin microbiome and dermal and other disorders is fairly new, it has become clear that the more diverse the microbiome, the healthier the skin.

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

Pooling Biospecimen Collections into “Synthetic” Cohorts to Promote Personalized Medicine

Large longitudinal studies have become impractical on many levels. At well over $100 per patient enrolled, the traditional large cohort study has become cost-prohibitive. Nor is cost the only factor: another is time. By their very nature, cohort studies can take decades to yield benefits, both at the individual as well as the population level.1 However, these studies are still needed both for public health research and to support the implementation of personalized medicine.

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

Personalized Medicine and Validation of Next-Generation Sequencing

Personalized medicine and next-generation sequencing (NGS) are two trends producing major swings in the healthcare industry. As previously discussed on Doe & Ingalls blog, here are some points you should be familiar with if your strategy touches upon either of these.

Topic: Qualification / Validation, Topic: Laborato..........

The Evolution of Public Health Research: Sir Austin Bradford Hill and the Cigarette-Rolling Machine

In 1923, a general practitioner in rural Virginia received a phone call from a friend, a surgeon at a hospital in Richmond. A middle-aged man with an uncommon form of cancer had been admitted to the hospital - would he like to come and see the patient, the friend asked. It was a rare opportunity to examine and diagnose an unusual illness first-hand. The country doctor was happy to visit the hospital and further his education, especially since he'd doubted seeing more than one or two similar patients over the rest of his career.

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