Quality materials lead to quality results
The VCB has a long-standing commitment to quality. Our operations are standardised to international best practices, with audit systems in place to ensure compliance and regular testing to assure quality.
Our dedicated staff control the entire process, from obtaining consent to collection, storage and data management. This enables us to bank consistently high-quality samples and clinical data while protecting patient-donor safety and privacy. We also continuously enforce stringent quality control over samples and data.
In November 2020, the VCB consortium achieved certification from the internationally recognised Canadian Tissue Repository Network (CTRNet).
To obtain this award, an external review of our governance and operations, both centrally and at each of the five tissue bank sites of the consortium, was undertaken. The review demonstrated that our collection, processing and storage practices are of a high ethical standard.
CTRNet registered certification numbers
VCB Consortium: BRC-00158
Austin Health Tissue Bank: BRC-00541
Eastern Health Tissue Bank: BRC-00539
Melbourne Health Tissue Bank: BRC-00544
Monash Health Tissue Bank: BRC-00555
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre Tissue Bank: BRC-00540
Standard operating procedures
Our standard operating procedures (SOPs) have been developed in consultation with pathologists, scientists, consumer groups and ethicists to ensure practical, high quality, standardised sample and data collection and processing across all our centres, as well as to protect patient-donor safety and privacy. We have developed and implemented protocols covering:
- tissue sample processing and archiving;
- patient data collection and patient identification protection;
- equipment maintenance; and
- sample distribution to qualified researchers.
These protocols are designed to maximize the molecular and histological integrity and quality of the samples and data we collect.
The preservation of materials for research is a careful science. Every step from resection to storage can diminish the usefulness of the specimen for research purposes. The VCB has a range of procedures in place to ensure excellent quality specimens, including the following collection and storage practices:
- tissues are frozen within 60 minutes of collection;
- blood is processed and stored within two hours of collection.
- mirror collections of tissue and blood specimens are stored in -80°C and the vapour phase of liquid nitrogen;
- all FFPE and O.C.T cases are verified by a pathologist;
- all FFPE and O.C.T sectioned cases come with a complimentary H&E slide.
Researchers can access detailed, non-identifiable information through our central database, which collates comprehensive clinical data secured by our team of dedicated and specially trained personnel at each biobank site. Case reviews are conducted prior to providing data to researchers.
The database platform used by the VCB is OpenSpecimen™, a Krishagni product.
Training and compliance
Staff at the VCB are qualified medical scientists with formal training in biomedical and/or clinical research, nursing and pathology. All personnel at each of our biobank sites, including the staff in VCB central operations, are trained and tested on all SOPs annually to ensure compliance and encourage professional development.
The VCB is dedicated to continuous improvement. We review our policies and procedures on an annual basis.