University of Pittsburgh

eLABJournal Helps Pitt Lab Fight Bone and Soft Tissue Cancers

The Musculoskeletal Oncology Lab (MOL) at the University of Pittsburgh researches the biology of primary and metastatic musculoskeletal tumors to help develop treatments for people with metastatic sarcoma and breast cancer bone metastases, particularly for patients at UPMC. We established a musculoskeletal oncology tumor registry and tissue bank in about 2010. Years of time-stamped patient clinical data and tissue samples, collected over the entire course of disease and treatment, now provide evidence of disease progress and the effects of treatment. The substantial volume of patients and the variety of disease manifestations treated at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Institute, combined with the research infrastructure at the University of Pittsburgh, make the library a unique resource for translational research. These patient clinical data and tissue samples provide a powerful research resource that is not obtainable elsewhere.

Tanya Heim

“Our lab has established a biobank for over 40 subtypes of sarcoma. We needed a better way to track our biospecimen inventory. eLab allowed us to store clinical information on the same platform where the biospecimen inventory was logged. We used to use separate Excel spreadsheets to track inventory and clinical information, which was tedious and time consuming. eLab has provided a secure platform that is able to grow and adapt with our ever evolving biobank.”

Tanya Heim Clinical Research Coordinator



Goal:

The mission of the MOL is to better understand the biology of primary and metastatic musculoskeletal tumors. We work to investigate novel pharmacological and molecular approaches to target metastatic sarcoma and breast cancer bone metastases. Our main focus is on maintaining a vigorous and comprehensive research program for musculoskeletal oncology at the University of Pittsburgh, with the goal of translating discoveries into clinical solutions for our patients.

Challenge – Need to Track Clinical Information and Samples Together

Our lab has established a biobank for over 40 subtypes of sarcoma. We needed a better way to track our inventory of biospecimens and to tie them together with the clinical data associated with each patient.

Solution – Safe, Reliable, Synchronized Tracking of Patient Clinical Data and Biospecimens in Biobank

We talked to many lab-based inventory software companies, but none were as effective for our needs as the eLABJournal system from Bio-ITech, which contains both the eLABInventory module and the Electronic Lab Notebook module. Other systems were not as customizable as eLABJournal and some did not offer cloud-based hosting, which was essential for us—especially now (since COVID-19). So we decided to install eLABJournal in our Musculoskeletal Oncology Lab (MOL) at the University of Pittsburgh. We collect biospecimens and clinical data from patients diagnosed with sarcoma at the university’s medical center—UPMC. eLABJournal helps us store and track our inventory of biospecimens and all the associated clinical data in a single, seamless application. We heavily rely on the inventory part of it for now but we are slowly incorporating experiment tracking for when members use specimens in the biobank.

Result – eLABJournal Ties Biospecimens and Data Together for Totally Reliable Biobank Operation

We already have the most diverse sarcoma biobank in the country, and now eLABJournal helps us to quickly share biospecimens and data with the members of our lab and other collaborators. We feel confident that we can keep track of all our biospecimens in an efficient way. The eLABInventory module of eLABJournal not only knows where specimens are in an instant, but also ties them unequivocally to the clinical data—what was happening with the patient and the treatment. We are even beginning to incorporate tracking of new experiments when members use the existing biospecimens in their research studies—thanks to the electronic lab notebook module of eLABJournal.

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