Human Tissue Sample Blog

Why Well-Annotated Tissue Samples are Essential for Drug Discovery

Posted by Luke Doiron on Jun 11, 2013 8:05:00 AM


well annotated tissue samplesIn order to enhance and accelerate drug discovery, human bio specimens are widely used by researchers to study the efficacy, reproducibility, and safety of new drug compounds. Pre-clinical use of human tissues provides valuable insight into the likely success or failure of novel drug therapy compound candidates. This process relies heavily on well-annotated  tissue samples.

Let’s briefly define the term “well-annotated”. Basically, annotation describes the clinical and demographic data that is provided with each tissue sample.  A well-annotated tissue sample will have a wide range of information that details the “who, what, when and where” of that specific specimen.

Why is it important to have such detailed data on a human tissue sample? Disease researchers equate their efforts to those of a detective. As they chase down the core molecular basis for diseases such as cancer, they need clues that tell them why certain patients develop cancer. These clues are contained inside human tumors, tissue, and blood specimens. Access to human tissues with specific diseases provides the opportunity for researchers to identify, for example, disease-related biomarkers and to enhance the selection accuracy of new compounds most likely to succeed in a human clinical trial. Because the biospecimen represents both the biology of the patient and of the disease, it’s critical to know as much as possible about that patient and their specific disease.

Without access to well-annotated tissue samples, drug discovery can go down the wrong path. When that happens, time is lost, money is misspent, drug candidates have to be withdrawn because of unforeseen side-effects, or a promising compound never gets green-lighted because decisions were based on faulty data. Saddest of all, patients with life-threatening diseases are kept waiting for better treatment therapies.

This is unacceptable for those involved in critical drug research, and it’s the reason why companies who spend millions and millions of dollars in clinical research are demanding reliable and well-annotated tissue samples. Top-rate tissue banks work very hard to supply such samples because they know it can help lead to advancements in disease treatments and cures. When seeking to partner with a tissue bank, look carefully at the quality of their sample annotation. It should include:

  • In-depth and highly detailed demographic patient profiles
  • Precise and meticulous clinical notations
  • Exhaustive treatment history
  • Accurate, methodically recorded disease information.

Access to well-annotated tissue samples is critical for drug discovery, so make sure your biospecimen provider has the skills, knowledge, resources and procedures in place to provide you with critically important annotation data. Contact Conversant Bio with any questions regarding well-annotated tissue samples. 

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Topics: Hematology, Immunology, Other Disease Areas, Normals/Controls, Blood Samples, Tissue Samples, Biobank, Cancer, Medical Research, Drugs