Sample Collection and Quality Control

Sample CollectionBoth blood and tissue are collected from participants, when possible. Pre-surgical blood is preferred; however it is collected at the convenience of the participant often at the same time as clinical blood work. It is then processed by separating it into blood derivatives such as serum, plasma, red blood cells and buffy coats and stored at -80oC. Urine and saliva may also be collected from some participants.

Tissue samples from surgery, not required for diagnosis, are collected in local area hospitals and are snap frozen in liquid nitrogen or preserved in formalin. The time from devitalization to freezing is always recorded and is ideally within 20 minutes. Tissue in formalin is used to prepare Formalin Fixed Paraffin Embedded (FFPE) blocks. Snap frozen tissue is stored in liquid nitrogen vapour in cryofreezers.

The quality and integrity of biospecimens is a critical component of biobanking operations. The biospecimens are essential for biomarker discovery and consistent quality is necessary to achieve reproducible experimental results. Therefore the ACRB adheres to the CTRNet SOPs for the collection, processing and preservation of samples, and is continuously evaluating biosample quality and expanding the list of quality measures. Quality Control information is available to investigators upon request.

Current quality measures include:

  • Where possible, tissue immediately adjacent to snap frozen samples is evaluated for tumour cell abundance as well as for inflammation and necrosis.
  • The ACRB participated in a proficiency test of DNA isolation through the Integrated Biobank of Luxembourg. Of the 47 international Biobanks that participated, the samples from the ACRB were given the highest possible rating of Very Good.
  • The ACRB has evaluated the Integrity of RNA isolated form samples that had been stored in liquid nitrogen for varying lengths of time. Most samples generated RNA that was of quality appropriate for microarray analysis.