About the Arizona Biospecimen Consortium (ABC)
The Arizona Biospecimen Consortium (ABC) is a collaboration between biorepositories located at three Arizona-based hospitals: St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and Maricopa Integrated Health System. Funded by the Arizona Biomedical Research Commission (ABRC), a bureau of the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), the goal in creating this consortium was to centralize and coordinate the individual efforts of the human biospecimen biobanks in the Phoenix area to raise the visibility and use of the collected samples in the basic and translational research community. The ABC member hospitals’ biorepositories contain tens of thousands of cell, tissue, and blood samples, many of which are from specialized ethnic populations (e.g., Hispanic or Native American), age populations (e.g., children) or rare diseases that will be of particular value to researchers who would not typically have access to these types of samples.
The Arizona Biospecimen Locator (ABL) is a pilot effort to develop a centralized, web-based biospecimen locator that presents the biospecimens collected and stored by ABC members and which are available for acquisition and use by research. Researchers may use this site to browse, search and request biospecimens to use in qualified studies.
Origins of the Arizona Biospecimen Locator
The Arizona Department of Health Services, Arizona Biomedical Research Commission, through its active involvement in the Arizona Bioscience Roadmap and Arizona Translational Research Pathway efforts, identified the importance of access to high quality biospecimens to further clinical and translational research in the age of genomic-based medicine.
Through its outreach to hospitals and the research community, ABRC learned that a comprehensive and coordinated effort was needed to raise the capacity of existing and emerging biospecimen banks across the state to effectively generate sufficient biospecimens for clinical research and manage the interface with the research community.
A centralized, web-based biological specimen tracking database system and associated software was developed with input from a consortium of hospitals and medical centers from the Phoenix area to support the ability to provide information about the availability of specimens in a consistent and virtual manner. The intent of the system is to allow researchers to browse and query the specimen universe in order to determine which specimen(s) may be suitable for their needs, and the to facilitate the ordering of these biospecimens.
Underpinning the ABL is the Consortium’s efforts in creating harmonized approaches that enable a statewide biospecimen collaboration across tissue banks. These harmonized approaches touch many of the key aspects of managing biospecimens for the research community and ensuring quality across tissue banks, including a common biospecimen annotated dataset, a standardized material transfer agreement, and a sharing of standards on collection and storage protocols, among others.