Software from Bochum being used in the central and interdisciplinary Biobank at the Charité

Europe`s biggest university clinic counts on CentraXX, the biobank management solution by the Kairos GmbH, for the integration of its existing biobanks.

The central and interdisciplinary biobank at the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin (ZeBanC) collects DNA, blood, tissue and other sample material, which is extracted at Europe’s largest university clinic for therapeutic or diagnostic purposes, then processes and stores it. The goal is the creation of an efficient and sustainable infrastructure, from which researchers from inside and outside of the Charité can be supplied with high quality samples coupled with corresponding disease specific data sets for future trials. The ZeBanC is one of five sites that are federally funded within the National Biobank-Initiative by the German ministry for education and research (BMBF). The other sites subsidized by the initiative are in Aachen, Heidelberg, Kiel, and Wuerzburg.

Supporting Personalized Medicine with Modern Biobank

The ZeBanC’s goal is to support medical research and the development of “personalized medicine”, which takes into account the patient’s specific bio-molecular features for therapy decisions. The requirement for research projects in this field is a sufficient number of high quality samples that are linked to extensive medical information from each donor. The standardized management of a biobank as well as the effective use of the immense associated data requires the use of a modern and flexible IT-solution. The ZeBanC relies on the biobank-management-system CentraXX by the Kairos GmbH from Bochum for coping with the information-technological challenges.

The Challenge of Integrating SOPs

The ZeBanC has to deal with the big challenge of integrating and managing the existing sample inventories from the three campuses at the Charité, while taking into account all data protection regulations and established process instructions (SOPs). CentraXX has a completely integrated, highly flexible workflow engine, which allows for the mapping and execution of various SOPs, and thus presents the ideal conditions for the controlling of the complex work processes within the ZeBanC. “The rollout of a central biobank assumes that different sites operating in heterogeneous settings can be integrated smoothly. Flexibility and functionality of the workflow engine in CentraXX were decisive factors in our choice to use the system by Kairos. It enables us to map the SOPs of all affiliated partners”, say Prof. Dr. Michael Hummel, head of the ZeBanC, and Prof. Dr. Hufnagl, head of the ZeBanC’s IT.

The Challenge of Data Protection            

In order to be able to store any data, the high standards of data protection need to be fulfilled. Pseudonymization and anonymization of sensitive data are one central topic in this regard. The ZeBanC is a member of the ‘Technologie- und Methodenplattform für die vernetzte medizinische Forschung e.V.’ (TMF e.V.), which has provided major input regarding the topic of data protection for the operation of biobanks. Kairos has taken the recommendations by the TMF e.V. into consideration from the beginning of the development of CentraXX, creating an important precondition for positive data protection votes. Besides data protection, biobank-management software must especially take into account aspects of data protection. “For the ZeBanC’s requirements, it is absolutely necessary for the deployed system to be web-based, yet also secured from attacks and interferences from the outside. The concept that was realized in CentraXX convinced us from the beginning”, explains Prof. Dr. Hufnagl, head of the IT-department at the ZeBanC.

“We are happy to be able to continue our several years of cooperation with the Charité. The amount of samples that are to be expected, as well as the possibility of linking and enhancing high quality samples with contextual data for research, provides us with an ideal platform on which we can prove the performance CentraXX is capable of. Supporting researchers in their future-oriented work with our system solution is exciting and makes us proud”, explains Martin Zünkeler, founder of the Kairos GmbH.

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