2020: updates to support quality control

IBBL (Integrated BioBank of Luxembourg) is pleased to launch the updated version of, a free online tool supporting scientists in checking the quality of their biological samples and improving the reproducibility of their biomedical research. The 2020 update includes a selection of newly published and validated quality control assays, expanding the range of sample types and quality parameters that can be assessed.

Successful biomedical research and precision medicine go hand in hand with precision preanalytics. To the negative impact of unknown and uncontrolled preanalytical variables and ensure the accuracy and reproducibility of downstream analytical results, Quality Control (QC) assays need to be carried out to assess biospecimen fitness-for-purpose. Despite the availability of several QC tests, their use is still not sufficiently widespread within the research community, also due to the lack of tools guiding researchers in the choice of the most appropriate assay for a given sample type in the context of a specific downstream application.

In 2018, IBBL launched the first version of to address this need. is a free web-based application that helps the user identify and select the most relevant QC assay through a series of questions and answers. Researchers can follow a few easy steps to input the origin, type and sub-type of their samples – such as fluid biospecimens, nucleic acids, cells or tissue. The tool subsequently suggests the most suitable assays to be used to measure a specific quality parameter, along with references to relevant publications when available.

The 2020 update has been enriched with additional assays for a variety of different sample types – both solid and liquid, primary samples and derivatives – and quality parameters. These include a new assay for the assessment of cold ischemia of FFPE tissues; an assay for the evaluation of the fitness for purpose of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues for immunohistochemistry; an assay to check for suboptimal storage conditions of liquid cerebrospinal fluid (CSF); a test to verify the storage conditions and overall degradation status of serum samples; an assay for the quantification and qualification of cell-free DNA (cfDNA); and a test to assess the purity of extracellular vesicle samples. The updated version also includes additional references to new publications and further recommendations when using the various assays. can be accessed through the dedicated webpage. It was originally inspired by a technical report by the ISBER Biospecimen Science Working Group.