An objective tool to test your lab methods

In the wake of 2017, 94 biobanks and laboratories worldwide received an objective assessment of their performance in terms of quality. Delivered by IBBL (Integrated BioBank of Luxembourg) as part of its biospecimen proficiency testing programme, the report serves as a proof of competence to start off the new year on the right foot.

Handling biological samples of the appropriate quality is crucial to guarantee the best outcomes from medical and scientific research. The biobanks and laboratories that process such samples resort to a number of methods to control and test their quality before further use. How can they certify, in their turn, how good their methods are?

In 2011, IBBL launched a unique assessment tool with the purpose of addressing this unmet demand. By sending one standardised sample to all participating laboratories and then comparing the results obtained from each lab, IBBL has been able to benchmark the performances and issue personalised reports based on detailed statistics.

Commonly known as PT, the biospecimen proficiency testing programme is open to all laboratories working with biological samples or biospecimens across the world. It is run on a yearly basis, not to mention that it is endorsed by ISBER (International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories), a reference scientific society in the biobanking world.

In 2016, the programme drew 94 participating laboratories from 26 different countries, which registered for a total of 354 PT schemes.

Biospecimen Proficiency Testing programme

IBBL also expanded the 2016 edition to 18 testing and processing schemes, each of them including more than one method. To develop schemes that are fit for biobanks and the handling of biospecimens, IBBL has collaborated with European partners. For instance, the schemes for Circulating Tumor Cells Isolation and Cell Free DNA Extraction from Whole Blood were initiated within the CANCER-ID consortium, whereas the Cerebrospinal Fluid Aliquoting resulted from a collaboration within the BIOMARKAPD project.

Registration for IBBL’s 2017 biospecimen proficiency testing programme will open in the second quarter of the year.

For a full list of schemes and further information, please visit our dedicated web page.