At Hackensack Meridian Health, our leading scientists are engaged in innovative research to improve medical care. Many of today’s therapies and treatments were discovered because of patients who donated specimens for research. Our patients are an essential part of “the healing team” by participating.
Facilitating Discovery and Cures
The Hackensack Meridian Health Biorepository (Bio-R) facilitates discovery and innovative research to improve medical care by using high quality annotated biospecimens. The collected biospecimens are used for gaining a deeper understanding of diseases, finding better treatment options and progressing clinical and translational research. Researchers from Hackensack Meridian Health, other universities, government-based companies and drug or health-related companies can apply to use the biorepository.
Collection of Biospecimens
If there are any biospecimens left over after a procedure (such as surgery, biopsy, drainage of fluid etc.), some of the tissue or bodily fluid that is not needed for diagnosis or treatment may be collected and stored. A patient may be asked to donate another blood sample collected along with their normal bloodwork as well. However, no extra biopsy or needle stick is needed for participation in this project.
Our faculty collects frozen samples, paraffin-embedded samples, separated blood components, saliva, fecal matter and derived specimens such as DNA and RNA. These biospecimens are then carefully entered and managed through biospecimen Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS). The system allows for data to be entered in an efficient and effective manner so that data can be pulled for analysis and research.
Patient Information Collection and Storage
The Bio-R gathers and stores some health information from the patient medical record. The medical information collected will be linked to biospecimens and stored as part of the biorepository. All personal health information is removed before any biospecimens or medical information is released to researchers and completely de-identified.
Yael Kramer, MS, Manager of the HMH Network Biorepository (front, far left), David Chow, MD, Director of the HMH Network Biorepository (front, second from left), and their team led Ihor Sawczuk, MD, Chief Research Officer and President of the Northern HMH region (front, second from right), Cheryl Fittizzi, RN, MBA, Vice President of Research and Regulatory Affairs (second row, second from right), and members of the Center of Discovery and Innovation on a tour of the biorepository.
This was preceded by a festive breakfast that was held in honor of the biorepository team for all of their hard work. The biorepository team presented on some of their recent accomplishments, including their tremendous growth (860% increase in BioR sample procurement in one year), the establishment of their bioinformatics department (which maintains and aggregates data, enables advanced data queries, maps data across LIMS and EPIC systems, and compiles clinical summaries), and the establishment of a core facility (a space for researchers to store and access their biospecimens, and includes equipment, environmental health and safety services, and concierge).