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May 01, 2009 (Vol. 29, No. 9)

LIMS Streamlines Translational Science

Lab Information Management Systems Help Researchers Make the Most of Collaborations

  • The Role of LIMS

    A LIMS solution can help to address all of the above challenges and help support translational science, whether it is deployed at a single organization or as a collaborative LIMS solution across a consortium. Systems like the Thermo Scientific Nautilus LIMS™ from Thermo Fisher Scientific provide scientists with all of the information they need to track their experiments and view the progress of patients in a clinical trial. Nautilus LIMS serves as a single interface where scientists enter study data that is immediately available to principal investigators and laboratory managers. Any data trends are easily seen in common reports generated by the LIMS, providing complete visibility into all aspects of an ongoing study.

    The LIMS facilitates visual filtering and reporting on data to show the progress of a study at any time, demonstrating to sponsors that operations are running efficiently and yielding the best possible return from their grant money. It also prioritizes laboratory and clinical work so that resources can be managed effectively.

    The ability to manage laboratory and patient data in a secure and auditable manner is critical. A LIMS enables laboratories to segregate study data, simplifying the user experience while providing security and traceability. Each group is allowed to interact with the system in a way that is intuitive and makes sense to them. A LIMS like Nautilus allows users to view patients and draws, which is intuitive for doctors and nurses, or as samples, plates, and aliquots by laboratory personnel.

    Once collected, data must be referenced at each level in the hierarchy to enable laboratories to track draws and aliquots, and ensure that all of that information is available at the study level. Nautilus tracks and displays the location of all samples, and monitors their parent-and-child relationships from the freezer to the individual plate well. A LIMS also provides useful information about the availability of instruments, supplies, and personnel prior to any testing request, which enhances the decision making process in the lab.

    In addition, web accessibility simplifies maintenance and deployment of the system in a low-cost manner. LIMS users across multiple sites, laboratories, and hospitals can access the data at any time, so disparate groups that comprise a research environment can work and share information in an optimal way. Laboratories gain the efficiency and oversight they need without sacrificing productivity.

  • Conclusion

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    Users external to the laboratory can submit sample requests through a web interface. This facilitates the sample hand-over between the clinic and the laboratory.

    As a relatively new and evolving science, one of the key challenges in translational medicine is how to balance the need to provide the best possible patient care with the need to further science in clinical research. For these seemingly divergent objectives, a LIMS is a critical tool for managing and optimizing laboratory operations, but is far more than that.

    The LIMS monitors what equipment and personnel are available in the laboratory, helping scientists prioritize work. It facilitates the visibility of information across the study and allows for real-time trending of study results for sponsors and principle investigators locally or from remote locations. It enables nurses and doctors to see the draws they need to perform and input those results in an intuitive manner. The LIMS ensures that samples are tracked from the patient to the laboratory for in-house and sponsored studies.

    In the collaborative environment of translational science, a LIMS provides a single solution for study design and execution, making it possible for scientists to translate data into real medical advancements.