Specimen Storage at CHPS Specimen Handling Core

CHPS is able to provide specimen handling, short-term storage, and shipping services for IRB approved studies. Requests are submitted in eCHPS, and reviewed and approved by the CHPS Resource Committee. The CHPS outpatient lab does not provide analysis of lab specimens.

Upon CHPS approval, the PI must schedule a meeting with the CHPS Nurse Manager, Audrey Kamrin, to discuss study storage needs. Nursing time for preparing and tracking specimens in CHPS short-term storage is charged in the protocol eTRACK or OnCore budget. Study teams must register and schedule subjects (or specimens) in eTRACK or OnCore prior to using CHPS Specimen Handling Services.

Due to limited storage space, CHPS cannot provide long-term storage or accept requests for storage only purposes (refer to the Restrictions section). The use of CHPS storage services must include other CHPS services: Nursing services, specimen collection (phlebotomy), shipping or processing (preparing specimens for storage or shipping, centrifuging, aliquoting).

In preparing your study, consider these questions related to specimen storage, as they will affect your request with CHPS.

  • How long will the long-term storage last? Have you discussed specimen viability with the facility storing or analyzing your specimens? For example, what do you hope to discover from specimens stored for 10 years or longer?
  • Have study subjects consented for their specimens to be stored and analyzed in the future? Is specimen storage and future analysis clearly described in the subject consent?
  • Where will the specimens be stored long term? Who will be the contact person for the long-term storage specimens?
  • Does the lab performing analysis require multiple back-up specimens? How many? If the lab does not require more than two back-ups, why are so many back-ups needed?
  • Are there funds in the budget for long-term storage?
  • Do you plan to freeze-thaw-re-freeze specimens for interim analysis of specimens? Have you discussed specimen degradation with the lab analyzing the specimens and the facility storing the specimens?

CHPS Specimen Handling Services

eCHPS submission forms will ask you to provide aliquoting information, volume per specimen, the number of specimens to be stored, and the duration of storage. You can obtain this information from the lab doing the specimen analysis or from the sponsor-supplied lab manual. Standard size aliquot tubes will be provided by CHPS. This information will be reviewed at the study start-up meeting.

Stored specimens are tracked in our Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS). Charges are incurred for tracking specimens in LIMS and will be added to the overall nursing time.

If you are working with the Translational Core Lab (TCL), the TCL will have a startup meeting with the research coordinator before enrollment starts. The startup meeting is preceded by a specimen collection guide from Dr. Ren. This specimen collection guide contains information on the compatible specimen types, aliquot volume, and the number of aliquots needed for each test.  This information will be used by the Research Nursing Core (such as CHPS at CHOP and PENN) to decide which blood tubes to use, how much blood to draw, as well as how much CHPS will charge the study. CHPS Specimen Handling Services can provide standard size aliquot tubes. Study teams will have to provide specialty tubes. Visit the TCL website.

Shipping Services

CHPS Outpatient Lab staff are certified by the Research Institute's Shipping Core to perform domestic and international laboratory shipping. Provide the destination mailing address and instructions for how to prepare specimens for shipping. CHPS can provide dry ice if it is required. Study teams provide shipping boxes and pre-printed, pre-paid shipping labels, and are responsible for tracking packages. CHPS Outpatient Lab Staff can create commercial invoices if needed. Specimens are picked  by UPS, FedEx, World Courier, etc. at the CHPS Main Outpatient area.

Specimen Storage Services

Specimen storage in CHPS is limited. Specimens are stored in the CHPS outpatient area freezers in 2” tall boxes and/or 3” tall boxes (or higher). Some types of stool containers are too large for storage in our system; contact Audrey Kamrin regarding plans to store stool specimens.

Study specimen containers must be able to fit in these particular size storage boxes

Box size

Storage grid type

Tube type stored

Specimen type

13.2 x 13.2 x 5.1 cm (51/5 x 51/5 x 2")

81; with options for 49 or 36 tubes

2ml cryovial

blood and saliva

13.2 x 13.2 x 7.6 cm (51/5 x 51/5 x 3")

81; with options for 49 or 36 tubes

3.8 to 4 ml

blood and saliva

5 ¾ x 53/4 x 3”

36 brown lid stool containers or 16 tub shaped containers in each box

 

Stool; sterile scissors used to trim stool swabs to 2” and then placed in a 2” cryovial.

Specimen storage types

  • DNA
  • Plasma
  • Serum
  • Stool
  • Tissue specimen
  • Spinal fluid
  • Swabs
  • Urine
  • Whole blood
  • Paxgene tubes
  • Saliva

Freezer information

CHPS has the following freezer types at these locations:

  • -30⁰C Freezer - Outpatient Processing Lab – specimens shipped same day or within a few days
  • -80⁰C Freezer #1 - Outpatient Processing Lab – specimens shipped same day or within a few days
  • -80⁰C Freezer #2 – Freezer Room – specimens held for a longer time period for batch shipping
  • -80⁰C Freezer #3 - Freezer Room – specimens held for a longer time period for batch shipping
  • -80⁰C Freezer #4 - Freezer Room – specimens held for a longer time period for batch shipping
  • -20⁰C freezer in the 3550 Market Street Outpatient Processing Lab – this freezer is not used to store specimens and is emptied daily with the specimens taken to the CHPS Freezer Room

Types of specimen storage at CHPS

  • Short-Term: specimens are stored at the CHPS Main Outpatient Area and are easily accessible for shipping and analysis. This storage type is best for small amounts of specimens or specimens that are batch shipped on a weekly or monthly basis.
  • Long-term CHPS Biorepository: specimens are stored off-site at the Colket Building and tracked in LIMS. The CHOP BioRC maintains CHPS freezers. When using CHPS Long-term Storage, CHPS Lab Staff will send the specimens to Colket long-term storage when a protocol has 25 boxes of the 2” tall boxes and/or 16 of the 3” tall boxes (or higher), or when our short-term freezers become full. The BioRC may not accept large or odd shaped tubes. CHPS Outpateint staff will manage all specimen tracking and pulling activities for specimens requiring lab analysis after the transfer process to the BioRC. Box logs will be used to identify the location of the specimens. If individual specimens are pulled out of boxes, the boxes will be consolidated and put back into the BioRC. You will receive new box logs. Forward long-term storage related questions directly to the BioRC. 
  • CHOP Biorepository Core (BioRC): The primary role of BioRC is to support the CHOP Research Institute’s biobanking initiative.  The BioRC will also be helping to manage CHPS long term storage. Contact BioRC to discuss the cost and invoicing process. Click here to contact the Biorepository Core for more information.
  • Third-Party Offsite Storage –The BioRC maintains three -80oC freezers for CHPS in Colket and, at present, long-term storage space is limited to these freezers.  Long term samples may need to be transferred to a commercial off-site storage facility if space becomes an issue.  Every effort will be made to keep the costs the same, but due to the nature of commercial facilities, costs may vary.  Contact the BioRC directly about this service

Restrictions

  • Alternate storage arrangements have to be made when specimens leave the CHPS facility. Once a specimen leaves our facility, we cannot accept the specimen for return shipment.
  • Very large requests to process, aliquot, ship and store specimens will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. CHPS may not be able to accept the project due the storage limits of our facility. Alternatively, specimens may be moved to the BioRC quickly, at which point the study will start paying for long-term storage.
  • We cannot accept requests for storage only purposes.
  • Some containers cannot be used. For example, some types of stool containers are too large to store in our freezers.