The increasing need for reliable storage and archival of biological samples has become abundantly clear during the Covid-19 pandemic. The constantly evolving situation demanded rapid understanding of the virus in order to develop diagnostic tools and treatment options, which could only be accomplished through meticulous preservation and characterization of specimens -- a global effort that revealed existing limitations in biobanks.
In previous years, the biorepository model was built from a combination of investigator input and institutional protocols. Over the course of the pandemic, a shift occurred towards a more enterprise-serving strategy in order t o meet the demands of a global medical emergency (according to a 2021 analysis by Croker et al.)
The Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) hubs surveyed provided feedback that indicated a new ability to employ established expertise and pre-established capacities to respond immediately to the unfolding pandemic.
In a landscape where priorities change so quickly, the future of biorepositories in clinical research will have to be flexible. According to the MESM Avantor blog:
“Biorepositories must not only match clinical and research requirements, they must also proactively and flexibly adapt to changing needs and anticipate future regulatory developments. It’s vital for storage and archiving services to be able to respond to customer demands with the flexibility, scale, and infrastructure to address dynamic requirements.”
Moving forward, some of the priorities we can expect to see in biorepositories will include greater flexibility in storage conditions and capacity. In order to continue to advance clinical research at its current pace in non-pandemic contexts, certain criteria will need to be met by sites hoping to keep up with the new demands of biorepositories.
Flexible storage and capacity. In order to accommodate future research, bio-banks with ultra-low temperatures and have a scalable capacity for increasing future demand. Not all clinical test assets will require cryogenic temperatures, some may only require controlled conditions, and future biorepositories should be prepared to adapt to current and future trial-specific needs.
Infrastructure. Back up systems and redundancies are vital to ensure the security and reliability of research materials in future biorepositories. These should aim to cover every asset of the process, from storage and handling to customer collaboration, in order to ensure effective research.
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In addition to keeping you up to date on all things clinical trials, we also act as a digital CRO with a specific focus on patient recruitment and retention. We believe that patient recruitment and study startup (especially study design and study material) are heavily intertwined. After all, study design can make or break clinical trials, and the patient-perspective should be considered when designing studies to ensure that patient targets are met not only on time, but also on budget.
For Citruslabs, patient recruitment starts with study design and ends with trial completion. We recruit patients through our network of health apps, which enables you to connect with thousands of patients in real time. The best part: these patients are already educated and prepared for the clinical trial process.