Collaboration — between hospitals, pharmaceutical and biotech companies, clinical research labs, and contract service businesses – to advance research has never been more important. Translational science in particular requires its research teams to be integrated with each other so that information and key learnings are shared amongst all team members on a timely basis. Optimum information sharing across a group of researchers is reliant on the integration of informatics solutions with other technologies and instruments, both inside and outside the lab. A Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) can facilitate collaboration across all organizations, enabling research teams to overcome barriers, communicate better and share valuable information with all team members.
Collaboration is vitally important for research communities focused on Translational Medicine, which connects the research laboratory to the patient (bench-to-bedside) to help drive potential drug candidates through the drug development lifecycle. To translate information from the clinic to the laboratory and back, researchers and clinicians have to collaborate with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, hospitals and academic research facilities. The sheer volume of data from these organizations presents an enormous challenge, which is why informatics tools are an essential component of the translational science process, ensuring that all organizations are connected and have access to critical information, data and reports. The increased focus on epidemiology and translational science has also led to a surge in the number of samples generated for research and analysis. As a result, biospecimen management has become a key component of drug development research and clinical trial activities. A LIMS is an essential part of any biobank or biorepository and by optimizing logistical and operational support for researchers, a LIMS ensures that biospecimen samples are available when and where they are needed.
I’d like to share with you a case study highlighting the work done at HUNT Biobank in Norway. Biobanks require an advanced LIMS to manage biospecimen locations, online requests for specimens, chain of custody and patient demographics. Properly managing this data and delivering the critical samples and information in a timely and accurate manner can significantly contribute to the reduction in time it takes to develop a lifesaving drug or diagnostic. In the case of HUNT, which has been conducting large scale population studies of over 100,000 people over 25 years, the work supports epidemiological, clinical and preventative medical research and offers a valuable insight into disease status and progression. The scope of the project is enormous and HUNT relies on an advanced LIMS to gather, store, manage, track and retrieve biospecimen materials securely. The LIMS also enables HUNT to deliver real-time dependable analysis and reporting to their research communities.
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You might also like to view an excellent webinar that illustrates the complex nature of the collaborations necessary for translational medicine. In this instance the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) required new functionality in the LIMS that would enable its research team to work more collaboratively on clinical and translational research projects. This webinar, Making complex data understandable and accessible at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to enable Translational Research , also describes CHOP’s opt-in approach to user adoption and best practices for implementation of informatics solutions in this highly networked environment.
For more information about LIMS and the informatics challenges facing biobanks today, you will find a number of good resources, case studies, posters and technical bulletins, as well as videos and published articleson this comprehensive Biobanking Resources site.
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