• Centralising Cryostorage for Enhanced Safety and Efficiency in Laboratory Sample Management


Centralising Cryostorage for Enhanced Safety and Efficiency in Laboratory Sample Management

Oct 10 2023

In scientific research, the value of biological samples cannot be overstated. These precious specimens hold the key to ground-breaking discoveries, innovative drug development, and life-changing treatments. In fertility clinics, academia, biobanks, research institutions, and pharmaceutical laboratories, the proper handling and storage of these biological samples are pivotal to achieving successful outcomes. This is where centralised cryostorage facilities, coupled with advancements in digitalisation and automation, are transforming the landscape of sample management, ushering in a new era of safety and efficiency.

Traditionally, cryostorage vessels have been dispersed across multiple locations within laboratories and institutes. This fragmentation poses numerous challenges. Monitoring, maintaining, finding, and accessing samples often results in deviations from standardised procedures. Attempting to consolidate smaller vessels into a single space might seem like a solution, but it brings its own challenges. Each vessel still requires separate monitoring equipment and periodic liquid nitrogen refilling, increasing the risk of accidents. Moreover, cramming too many cryostorage vessels into one space raises safety concerns, including trip hazards and the danger of asphyxiation due to liquid nitrogen evaporation.

Access control is another pressing issue. Some sites rely on simple padlocks or, at times, no protection at all. This unrestricted access elevates the risk of misplacing or mixing up samples, leading to sample deterioration, data loss, and contamination. The repercussions range from financial costs to irreparable reputational damage and even legal penalties.

To make matters worse, sample management is often relegated to antiquated systems like spreadsheets, legacy databases, or paper-based methods. These methods are inefficient, prone to errors, and lack an audit trail, making it challenging to maintain precise records and ensure compliance with regulations.

Centralised Cryostorage: A Safe and Efficient Solution

The solution to these challenges lies in the adoption of centralised cryostorage facilities. Laboratories dealing with a high volume of samples can benefit significantly from consolidating these specimens into larger vessels, minimising trip hazards, reducing required floor space, and simplifying liquid nitrogen maintenance. Modern cryostorage vessels can also be integrated into a network for remote environmental monitoring, enhancing safety measures.

To address concerns around access, advanced technology offers customisable digital access and permissions, coupled with semi-automated retrieval solutions. Users can securely log in through passwords, key cards, or biometrics to select their samples, while robotics-based systems fetch the corresponding vials. This not only ensures secure access but also generates a complete user audit trail to meet compliance requirements.

Digitalisation and Automation: Safeguarding the Future

The transition from smaller cryostorage vessels to centralised facilities enhances sample integrity. Customisable digital access and automated picking systems save time, prevent mix-ups, and improve storage efficiency. Furthermore, the automated generation of an audit trail streamlines the preparation for inspections and strengthens compliance efforts.

Centralised cryostorage facilities, along with digitalisation and automation, are ushering in a new era of laboratory sample management. These innovations offer laboratories the opportunity to ensure the safety, integrity, and efficiency of their valuable biological specimens. By embracing centralised cryostorage, organisations can save time and maximise the potential of their samples, thus ensuring a brighter and more secure future in sample management.

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