Currently, 600 million liquid biospecimens (serum, plasma, saliva, urine, etc.) are stored in biorepositories across the world for future research, mainly for biomarker discovery and verification. Most of these biospecimens are stored in -80C freezers (each freezer costs $30-50k) each one of which uses 24 kWh/day electricity (costing over $2,400/year/freezer in electricity use in the U.S.). The maintenance costs alone can be as high as $6,000/year/freezer. Furthermore, the freezers need to be connected to an un-interrupted power grid (with backup generators), housed in a controlled environment (in a freezer-farm) and supervised 24/7 by personnel. The freezer farms also need backup freezers for breakdown preparedness. Liquid nitrogen storage cost structure is similar. Furthermore, most cancer biomarkers are susceptible to damage when frozen. Our long-term goal is to eliminate the requirement for frozen state storage and develop the techniques to store serum biospecimens at room temperature using isothermal vitrification technology. Isothermal vitrification is the process by which liquids doped with sugars are desiccated to a glass (a very viscous fluid). In this state, biochemical reactions are halted, degradation of the specimen is stopped, and macromolecules are stabilized in their native states. In this R33 application we intend to validate the technology we have developed through a previous R21 grant in a systematic manner (and independently by three organizations) as a last step before commercialization. We will accomplish our goal by achieving the following aims: * Specific Aim 1: Validate 4 selected proteinaceous biomarkers in human serum samples using the novel isothermal vitrification matrix developed in the previous R21 grant, * Specific Aim 2: Validate the stability of an array of 300+ proteinaceous biomarkers in human serum stored using the novel isothermal vitrification matrix, * Specific Aim 3: Conduct independent validation of the technology developed here for potential adoption in the Mayo Clinic Biobank in Rochester, MN and the National Cancer Center Biobank in Tokyo, Japan for storage of serum samples.

Public Health Relevance

The advent of genomics and proteomics for personalized medicine has placed biospecimen research at the forefront of NIH priorities, since research projects are only as good as the biospecimens used. We are validating the methodology developed through an earlier R21 to stably store liquid biospecimens, such as sera, at room temperature. This technology will eliminate the need for long-term storage of serum samples in freezer farms, which are very costly to operate.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants Phase II (R33)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZCA1-TCRB-Q (J2))
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Divi, Rao L
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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Engineering (All Types)
Schools of Engineering
United States
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Solivio, Morwena J; Less, Rebekah; Rynes, Mathew L et al. (2016) Adsorbing/dissolving Lyoprotectant Matrix Technology for Non-cryogenic Storage of Archival Human Sera. Sci Rep 6:24186