Hamilton Storage, Franklin, Mass, and Hamilton Robotics, Reno, Nev, have announced they will build automated sample storage and fluid handling systems to be used in a new biobank infrastructure at the Mayo Clinic, which has been awarded funding by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to create the All of Us research program, formerly the cohort program of NIH’s Precision Medicine Initiative.
The automated sample storage assembly will include multiple Hamilton BiOS systems, each of which can manage and store up to 8.7 million biological samples at –80?C. The assembly will also make use of Hamilton’s Verso system, which will be used for high-throughput sample reformatting from standard tube racks to RackWare, Hamilton Storage’s new consumable for high-density tube storage. For sample preparation, the biobank will use Hamilton’s easyBlood system configured using the Microlab Star liquid handling workstation for blood fractionation and buffy coat transfer, integrated with the company’s LabElite decapper for automated tube decapping.
The All of Us research program biobank will be the repository for biological samples collected from 1 million individuals in the United States. The highly automated biobank will ultimately store and curate more than 35 million biospecimens, providing a resource for researchers working to advance precision medicine.
“We are excited to provide our core technology for the creation of one of the world’s largest research-cohort biobanks,” says Matt Hamilton, president of Hamilton Storage. “Being chosen as a key equipment partner for this national cohort program reflects the strength of our cutting-edge automation. Tracking and safeguarding these biospecimens so they can be accessed by researchers will help advance precision medicine for future generations. The All of Us research program biobank sets a new benchmark in the industry for efficient processing and retrieval using automated sample preparation and storage systems.”
“Ensuring sample integrity and maintaining chain of custody on the samples were important factors in our selection of Hamilton systems, along with the ability to scale up to a very large number of samples,” say Mine Cicek, PhD, and Stephen Thibodeau, PhD, coprincipal investigators of the All of Us program biobank award. “We believe the systems and processes we are establishing, with lessons learned by other large population biobanks, will create a new industry standard for biospecimen collection, processing, and storage.”
Launched by President Obama in 2015, the Precision Medicine Initiative is a research effort intended to revolutionize approaches to health and disease treatment. The initiative is a multiagency effort that seeks to enable a new era of medicine through research, technology, and policies that empower patients, researchers, and providers to work together to develop individualized care. As one component of the broader Precision Medicine Initiative, the research program is a longitudinal effort that aims to engage 1 million or more US participants to improve the ability to prevent and treat disease based on individual differences in lifestyle, environment, and genetics.