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Choosing a biorepository service to work with is an excellent way to further your cancer center's research efforts. You'll be able to store large numbers of specimen samples at the same time without having to invest in special spaces and expensive equipment – and you'll avoid having to pay a team of experts to manage the specimens for you. Here are three important things to consider when choosing a biorepository for your cancer research center:
The Intake Process
It's important to understand the intake process of biorepository you consider working with to ensure that needs and expectations will be fully met. If you want the ability to access specific information about the specimens at any time after they've been submitted to the biorepository, you need to know what information will be cataloged during the intake process and how that information will be accessible in the future.
You should also be aware of how the specimens are handled throughout the intake process. Where will they be kept until they are cataloged and put away for long-term storage? What kinds of tools and accessories will be used to keep the work area free of contaminants? Who will be working with your specimens during the intake process?
Storage and Maintenance
It's also crucial to have a clear understanding of how your chosen biorepository stores, manages, and maintains your specimens long-term. You need to know where the specimens will live, what kind of environment they'll live in, and how they will be cared for. Find out what steps will be taken to ensure a sterile environment at all times, and how often your specimens will be checked on. Understanding the storage and maintenance procedures that your biorepository uses will help you gauge what factors to consider when analyzing specimen reports and outcomes of testing.
It's a good idea to learn about the distribution procedures of a prospective biorepository before submitting your specimens to them; otherwise, you may end up feeling frustrated when you want to retrieve any of them at a later time. Are there any lengthy forms to fill out and submit before you can access your specimens?
Do you have to make an appointment, or can you just show up to retrieve them? Is there a waiting period after requesting to remove any specimens from the facility they're being housed in? Ask the facility for a copy of their distribution procedures, and have them address your questions and concerns in writing so you can refer to them when you want to retrieve a specimen.