Strengthening Research with Biobanking Technology
Blog Nov 27, 2013
With last week's announcement that the Institut Curie’s Paris-based biobank strengthened its research with TTP Labtech's arktic system we spoke to James Craven, Commercial Head of Sample Management at TTP Labtech, to understand more about the system and the research it enables.
AB: Can you let me know a little more about the arktic system?
James Craven (JC): Arktic has been developed from the ground up as a modular flexible scalable Biobank. The system technology principles have been developed from our other automated store comPOUND using the simplicity of both pneumatics and vacuum to move samples within transport tubes. Any moving parts are placed outside the freezer chamber and therefore significantly improve the reliability and robustness of the store. The system is also very compact and fits through a standard door. The store also has a very high capacity for its footprint and can store up to 135K 0.3 mL vials.
AB: Why was the arktic selected, what benefits does it offer over other biobanking systems on the market?
JC: arktic was selected for Institut Curie’s application due to the unique requirements of three groups within the centre. It also has significant technology advantages over the other competition systems. These include double the capacity of any other store vs. physical footprint. The ability to pre-sort samples and deliver samples quickly. A refrigeration system that provides Institut Curie with complete security as arktic has dual redundancy refrigeration and also a thermal efficiency over 24 hrs to warm from -80 to -60. This coupled with a philosophy of ease to use and well thought out design coupled with industry leading customer support.
AB: What areas of research will these arktic systems enable at the Institut?
JC: Institut Curie contributes to the development of new treatments against cancer. They are acquiring 3 systems to store: serum samples, tumours and nucleic acid (DNA/RNA) samples respectively. Storage of these samples in the arktic system will be made more efficient, quicker and with a complete cold and data chain of custody. It will also dramatically improve the efficiencies of picking samples for oncology projects. It will allow researchers in pathology to focus on the research rather than waste valuable time picking samples from manual freezers.
AB: What other types of facilities will benefit from utilising the arktic system in their sample management procedures?
JC: arktic wouldn’t be out of place in a range of facilities from academic and smaller companies that may only require 1 or 2 arktic systems to large companies that require a fully automated modular system. As arktic has the capacity to store anything from human biobanking samples to plant and animal biospecimens and from nucleic acids to tissue sections and protein compounds the customer base is very broad. We already have a diverse range of customers from those storing RNAi libraries in core labs to protein/glycerol stock storage for Structural Biology groups. We feel we are only scratching the surface with arktic!
AB: The biobanking market is projected to demonstrate significant growth over the next 5 years, what do you see as the biggest challenges the market will face over this time?
JC: We feel the main challenge is in educating our customers about developing long term strategies to set up fully automated systems from the start and realising the benefits and advantages in doing so i.e. better quality control, increased sample stability/integrity, reduced personnel time etc. Calculation of the return of investment should include these aspects of sample storage.
We feel another challenge is the ability to incorporate legacy samples into the biobanking system and we are working with strategic partners within the automation space to develop unique solutions to these challenges.