Nova Medical School (NMS) is a part of the Medical Sciences Faculty at NOVA University of Lisbon. NMS is associated with several local hospitals in the Lisbon area, facilitating a variety of teaching environments and more extended knowledge of hospital reality and primary health care. They have an in-house biobanking facility that supplies samples to their own research ecosystem such as NMS Research.
The Comprehensive Health Biobank (CHAIN) was created in 2019 at Nova Medical School (NMS). Its mission is to support biomedical, translational, and clinical research on chronic human diseases such as musculoskeletal, cardiorespiratory disorders, and mental health. They store a broad range of samples in their biobank, including bone and bone powder, tumor tissues, and serological samples, such as serum and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). One main asset of CHAIN is its sample collections from national cohorts, namely EpiReumaPt as part of EpiDoC (~3500 samples of a population-based cohort representative of the Portuguese population), and a collection of hundreds of bone femoral heads.
Among its newest collections are serological COVID-19 samples. During the pandemic, the Chronic Diseases Research Center (CEDOC) (now known as NMS Research) at NMS created a COVID-19 biobank of nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal exudate samples (95,625 samples were collected till September 2021) with the aim to accelerate research into COVID‐19.
Sample Management Challenges
The main challenge of CHAIN biobank was to manage sample collections and standardize associated biobanking activities to provide high-quality samples and associated data for research.
NMS had been looking for an informatics solution to regulate sample flow from different satellite storage facilities to their central biobanking facility. Some of the challenges faced by them are as follows:
- Accessioning samples using barcodes
- Tracking the sample life-cycle from accessioning to disposal and maintaining a chain-of-custody
- Maintaining records of diversified sample types
- Managing both parent and aliquot samples
- Managing their storage inventory and locating stored samples with ease
- Digitally managing biobanking activities for process efficiency
- Meeting regulatory compliance such as HIPAA, EU GDPR, 21 CFR Part 11
To address the aforementioned challenges and digitize their biobanking operations, they decided to switch from spreadsheets to an automated solution. They implemented CloudLIMS, a cloud-based Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) to meet their requirements and boost operational efficiency.
How the CloudLIMS Team Facilitated Their Onboarding Process
The CloudLIMS team configured all sample registration forms and mirrored their storage inventory to accelerate their onboarding process. The team also conducted training sessions and imported their legacy data of over 30,000 samples at no additional charge.
Benefits Gained by Nova Medical School (NMS)
NMS experienced the following benefits after successfully deploying CloudLIMS:
- 1. They are now able to make a shift from spreadsheets to a highly structured data management platform for maintaining records.
- 2. They are now able to store retrospective samples obtained mainly for two studies, namely, OSSO and Epireuma.
- 3. They are now able to batch import data from spreadsheets, saving time and reducing manual errors.
- 4. They are now able to securely manage and track sample and storage details and maintain a complete audit trail and chain-of-custody of all samples stored in their biobank.
- 5. They are now able to easily manage storage containers and track the stored samples for stability testing.
- 6. With CloudLIMS’ ability to provide role-based data access to personnel, they are able to safeguard sensitive data from unauthorized access.
- 7. They are now able to generate custom sample reports in a few clicks.
- 8. They are now able to meet compliance requirements such as EU GDPR, and CFR 21 Part 11.
CloudLIMS’ implementation helped NMS transform the biobank’s operations, right from efficient sample and data management to operational automation. NMS has now joined the league of biobanks worldwide that have realized the benefits of CloudLIMS.
Nova Medical School (NMS) is a part of the Medical Sciences Faculty at NOVA University of Lisbon. They have an in-house biobanking facility located in Lisbon, Portugal. They supply samples to their own research ecosystem.
To digitize management of their sample collection and regulate sample flow from different satellite storage facilities to their central biobanking facility. Furthermore, another challenge was to streamline and standardize associated biobanking activities to provide high-quality samples and associated data for research.
Comply with EU GDPR, CFR 21 Part 11, and other regulatory requirements. Seamless sample and storage management, besides workflow automation. CloudLIMS enabled NMS to overcome their sample management and operational challenges by providing a secure, cost-efficient, scalable, configurable biobanking LIMS.