Translating the principles of low temperature science into storage guidelines

Given the importance of low temperature storage in biobanks and biorepositories, IBBL’s biospecimen researchers have published a concept paper to guide the implementation and standardisation of fundamental cryobiological principles in biobanks.

Choosing the right storage and processing methods is key in biobanking and biopreservation, because they are determining factors for the quality of biospecimens. Since many specimens and samples are stored at low temperature, cryobiology (from the Greek: “cryo” = cold) is a fundamental branch of science applied in biobanks. However, there seems to be a certain lack of understanding and knowledge of low temperature storage principles within the biobanking sector. On the other hand, the objective in biobanks is not always the preservation of cell viability but increasingly includes the maintenance of genetic stability, meaning that traditional cryobiological principles do not always apply.

In order to improve understanding and communication, scientists at IBBL have published their strategy, based on five core concepts, to help translate cryobiological knowledge from scientific publications into practices applicable in biobanks, where quality assurance, risk management and Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) govern daily operations. The concept paper was written in collaboration with experts in both biorepositories and cryobiology and through close interactions with the three main societies in these fields; ISBER (International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories), SLTB (Society for Low Temperature Biology) and SfC (Society for Cryobiology).

“Although distinct sectors, we share many common interests.” says Dr Olga Kofanova, Biospecimen Research Scientist at IBBL. ”This concept paper is a first step to achieving consensus across these different disciplines. It identifies critical factors as a stepping stone for the implementation of low temperature storage and processing standards within the biobanking sector.”

The full article is available here