IBBL contests the use of lithostatine as a quality control tool to assess the integrity of urine samples

In a new study published in the Biopreservation & Biobanking journal IBBL scientists show that there is still no validated urine biomarker for pre-analytical variations.

High-throughput analysis in genomics and proteomics, which facilitate or enable the simultaneous study of thousands of genes or proteins, have substantially advanced biomedical research in recent years. Importantly, they have led to the discovery and subsequent use of a number of biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis or drug response. However, new technologies always bring along new challenges. The large scale of these technologies means that samples from different patients need to be treated in exactly the same fashion before analysis to ensure that observed differences in proteins or genes are not due to variations in the pre-analytical process.

As one of a few biobanks to carry out their own research, IBBL, specifically the team around Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Betsou, has focussed on studying the impact of such pre-analytical variations on the down-stream results, in an effort to discover and validate markers for biospecimen quality control (QC). These QC markers are molecules, for example proteins, that are sensitive to the method of collection, processing or storage, allowing researchers to detect when samples have not been handled correctly.

In a recently published study Dr Betsou and Dr Kofanova, Biospecimen Research Scientist at IBBL, evaluated the usefulness of lithostatine as a quality control tool for urine sample processing in routine biobanking. A previous guideline suggested that the concentration of this protein could be a useful pre-analytical biomarker, but IBBL’s researchers were unable to confirm this finding. Using a routine protein assay, they showed that lithostatine concentration in urine does not change significantly in response to common pre-analytical variations, such as a delay in sample processing or repeated freeze-thaw cycles. Thus, lithostatine concentration cannot be considered a useful tool to assess the integrity of urine samples and the urgent need for a urine quality control marker remains.

The full article is available here