The Bioprocessing Unit of the ACRB supports  blood fractionation and  tissue microarray (TMA) production. Investigators can Contact Us to access these services.

Blood Fractionation: Hamilton STARlet and STAR automated liquid handling systems are capable of executing multiple automated laboratory methodologies blood fractionation, while improving processing efficiency, biospecimen quality and reducing costs. Most importantly, this platform enables the ACRB to provide world-leading technology for collaborators to expand their research ideas into previously inaccessible realms of possibility. The Robots process blood samples  using standardized methods, precisely fractionating the maximum volume of aliquots based on the programmed targets of serum, plasma, and buffy coat  into multiple matrix bar coded storage cryovials. Thus allowing each patient’s donation to support multiple downstream research programs.

Tissue Microarray (TMA) Production: The ACRB can build custom TMAs using our own FFPE block collection as well as blocks from some clinical laboratories. Contact us for more information. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) is an important tool used to screen Formalin-Fixed Paraffin-Embedded (FFPE) sections of tumour tissue for biomarker expression, toward the goal of personalized medicine. The use of TMAs ensures uniform conditions for all biospecimens interrogated and is very cost effective as the IHC reagents used to probe one tissue biospecimen can now be used to assay 100s of patient biospecimens at once.



The Biostorage Unit services offered by the ACRB can support the sample storage need of a large and diverse number of clients. Investigators can Contact Us to arrange rent storage space in the ACRB freezers.  

With over 2 million aliquots of human biospecimens housed in liquid nitrogen (-196°C), mechanical freezers (-80°C) and room temperature conditions, the Biostorage Unit maintains the operations necessary for  environmental monitoring, inventory management,  and security and risk management.

Environmental Monitoring: A redundant system of 24-7 environmental monitoring is be maintained to ensure the safety and integrity of the ACRB inventory. This includes facility maintenance/security, dangerous gas detection systems, biospecimen temperature monitoring, alarm response, contingency and disaster planning.

Inventory Management: Our comprehensive inventory management system is a critical component for the continued operation of the Biostorage Unit that contains over 2 million aliquots of biospecimens from a large number and variety of research program clients. In addition to managing the properties, ownership, embargos and physical storage locations of each biospecimen, the Biostorage Unit is responsible for tracking the temperature history of biospecimens (Cold Chain Custody), managing biospecimen derivative properties/locations (e.g. extracted nucleic acids from blood/saliva) and working with clients to withdraw biospecimens from the bank and ship them to their destinations.

Security and Risk Management: The ACRB is responsible for providing security and risk management support in the form of emergency and disaster management planning for all of our biostorage facilities. A remarkable example of the importance of this operation occurred in June of 2013 where extensive flooding in Calgary completely immersed the ACRB Holy Cross Centre biostorage facility in floodwaters. Thanks to effective disaster/contingency planning, well-documented environmental monitoring operating procedures and heroic staff efforts, not a single ACRB biospecimen was compromised as a result of the emergency situation.