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specimen tracking

Specimen Tracking for Biobanks

For biobanks, effective and efficient specimen tracking is of paramount importance. Biobanks serve as treasure troves of scientific data, housing samples that could potentially play a critical role in scientific discovery and the development of new treatments. The successful preservation and utilization of these specimens rely heavily on robust and reliable specimen tracking systems. This blog post sheds light on the critical role of specimen tracking in biobanking, unraveling how it safeguards integrity, enhances efficiency, and unlocks the true value of these invaluable resources.


  1. Ensuring Sample Integrity: Maintaining the integrity of biological specimens is a key function of biobanking supported by a specimen tracking system. Each sample represents a unique piece of data, and any mishandling or misplacement could lead to a loss of critical information. Specimen tracking systems provide a comprehensive solution to this challenge by accurately recording the entire lifecycle of a sample, from collection to storage and usage in experiments. This meticulous tracking minimizes the risk of errors and ensures that the sample’s integrity is preserved throughout the research process.
  2. Facilitating Quality Control: Specimen tracking systems enable effective quality control in biobanks. By assigning unique identifiers to each sample, researchers can easily trace its origin, processing history, and associated metadata. This traceability allows for rigorous quality control checks, ensuring that samples meet the required standards for research purposes. Any inconsistencies or anomalies can be promptly identified and addressed, ensuring the reliability of data derived from these samples.
  3. Enhancing Research Efficiency: Efficiency is a key factor in any research endeavor. Specimen tracking systems streamline the workflow in biobanks, enabling researchers to swiftly locate and access specific samples. Instead of spending valuable time searching through countless physical storage units, scientists can rely on the tracking system’s database to efficiently locate and retrieve the required samples. This increased efficiency translates into faster research progress and accelerates scientific discovery.
  4. Supporting Collaboration and Data Sharing: Collaboration and data sharing is vital for advancing scientific knowledge. Specimen tracking systems play a crucial role in facilitating collaboration among researchers and institutions. By integrating tracking systems with databases and other software, biobanks can share information about available samples and their associated data. This allows researchers to access and request specific specimens for their studies.

  5. Ensuring Regulatory Compliance: Many biobanks adhere to strict regulatory guidelines and ethical considerations to protect patient privacy and ensure the responsible use of samples. Specimen tracking systems help biobanks meet these requirements by maintaining detailed records of sample consent, ethical approvals, and associated data. This documentation provides an auditable trail and ensures compliance with legal and ethical standards, instilling trust in both researchers and the public.

Specimen Tracking with LabKey Sample Manager

Specimen tracking systems provide biobanks with a robust framework for managing, tracking, and preserving valuable biological samples. Through accurate specimen tracking, biobanks can maintain sample integrity, enhance quality control, optimize research efficiency, support collaboration, and ensure regulatory compliance. LabKey Sample Manager is a cloud-based specimen management system that has all of the features needed by biobanks of any shape or size:

With Sample Manager you can:

  • Manage sample receipt, freezer storage and shipment
  • Define samples types and sources with unique metadata
  • Document experiments in an integrated Electronic Lab Notebook
  • Use workflows to standardize lab procedures and data capture
  • Unify samples with their related experiment data
  • Capture an audit-ready log of actions performed on each sample
  • Comply with HIPAA and CFR Part 11