Biospecimen Management Expertise

As the complexity of samples being banked with NCRAD continues to grow, it is essential that NCRAD deploy protocols that are clearly delineated and readily available to studies and sites collecting samples. NCRAD has developed a series of services that are utilized by new studies.

NCRAD has developed a study specific manual of procedures for new studies banking with NCRAD. The manual includes descriptive and pictorial information about sample collection, processing, and shipping.

Videos describing how samples should be collected, processed, and shipped correctly for each protocol have been created and are available on the NCRAD website for re-training and review as needed:

Before sample collection begins, NCRAD offers web-ex training sessions for the principal investigators, coordinators, lab staff, and phlebotomists that will be interacting with the samples upon initiation of the study. Copies of the slide set as well as a recorded version of the site training is posted to the NCRAD website and made available upon request.

Kits with materials for samples to be collected, processed, and shipped can be created and supplied by NCRAD. The kits often include preprinted labels as well. For studies where NCRAD is supplying kits to the sites, a kit request module is available to request materials. Sites can visit the kit module to request complete kits or supplemental supplies as needed.

NCRAD coordinators and IT staff work together to perform data reconciliation with studies banking samples at NCRAD. The format of this reconciliation varies by project and study and is determined by the plan developed with the data coordinating center. We currently perform reconciliation monthly with the National Alzheimer Coordinating Center (NACC) for all ADC samples received by NCRAD. We also send monthly lists of received ADC samples to the site coordinators for confirmation. A similar approach is used for other studies. Sample reconciliation is not limited to the presence or absence of samples and data, but also includes the number of aliquots of each specimen type and protocol adherence. If any discrepancies are identified at sample log-in, the site where the sample was collected is immediately contacted. Once any discrepancies are clarified, the NCRAD coordinator logs the nonconformance into our database.

NCRAD’s goal is to make it easy for researchers to identify the samples they need for their research. NCRAD offers online biospecimen catalogs that can be queried by approved researchers to explore the range of biospecimens available at NCRAD for research use. In addition, NCRAD is working to harmonize the deidentified subject identifiers investigators use when posting genetic results to public databases (i.e. NIAGADS). The NCRAD catalogs then provide the link to the public databases containing genetic and genomic data generated from samples from these subjects.