A Short Guide to Biobanking: What it is, Why it Needs Management, and How to Manage It

A vial before being entered in biobanking software
A biobank is a repository for biological material samples such as blood, plasma, purified DNA, saliva, and other specimens.

A significant part of scientific research is the collection of samples, collecting data, and drawing meaningful conclusions from that data. This might seem pretty straightforward, but anyone who has worked in a lab and overseen a high volume of samples knows that it isn’t. One of the largest areas of research involves human samples, which require careful storing and inventory. At the turn of the century, there were more than 300 million tissue samples in biobanks in the United States alone, and that number grows by 20 million per year. Here’s a short guide to biobanking, how it can be managed, and why management is so essential.

What is biobanking?

A biobank is basically just a repository for these samples to be collected in, stored in, and distributed from. These samples are biological materials like blood, plasma, purified DNA, saliva, and other specimens. Similarly, biobanks also hold such information and data as health records, genetic information, and lifestyle and family history. These are all stored for research in the medical and health fields.

Why is careful management of these samples and data so important?

Since there are so many samples and so much data, careful storage, freezer inventory, and careful management are essential. These samples are used for other research, so it’s important that they stay organized, clearly labeled, well documented, and easily retrievable. These things are essential because research that uses these samples is often beneficial for the general public in the development of medications, procedures, diagnostic tools, education, and policies.

What is the best way to manage these samples and data?

Managing all of these samples and the associated data is too big a job for people to do, especially since accuracy is so important. This is why the development and use of biobanking software is essential. There are a number of web enabled types of software which feature management tools like e-notebooks, instant messaging, sample tracking software, lab management systems, reference management, and scientific and general online collaboration platforms. Do you have any other questions about biobanking, management, or biobanking software? Feel free to ask us in the comments section. Read More