We ran a series this summer highlighting one of the major issues in biomedical research: that the collection, storage, and procurement of biospecimen samples lacks any across-the-board governing standards. Various institutions adopt their own regulations resulting in a checkerboard of quality assurance, and by extension, an unknown effect on the outcomes of research. Our first guest called it “garbage in, garbage out.” (See links below.) This should send shudders through anyone doing research with any human tissue sample.
We also highlighted some of the proposed solutions, from the accreditation of bio repositories that CAP is offering (the same guest thinks biobanks should come under CLIA as laboratories do) to hearing how they handle the problem in the U.K. with their Human Tissue Authority, a light regulation at the government level.
Today we talk with Matt McLoughlin, the V.P. of Compliance at Scientist.com, the rapidly growing online research marketplace (last month they were listed No. 9 on Inc Magazine’s list of the fastest growing companies in the U.S.). Because of the large amount of human tissue samples acquired through their marketplace, Scientist has the chance to implement a market solution to the sample quality problem that makes a real difference. And they are. Think of the Fair Trade certification in the coffee or clothing industries.
“We’ve been in a unique position to do it because we’re agnostic. We’re not a supplier of human samples, nor are we a research organization using those samples. We can take a step back and act as a third party facilitator,” says Matt.
Just how does this private market system work? And does Matt think such a major problem can be fully tackled without any federal government oversight?
Here are the links to our summer series on the topic: