News & Updates

“IRREPLACEABLE” samples protected by Tutela

Cutting edge medical research is taking place at Sheffield’s Northern General and Royal Hallamshire hospitals within the fields of oncology, neuroscience, pulmonary hypertension, infection, immunity, diabetes and metabolic bone disease, amongst others.

 In order to support the work of clinicians, scientists and research trainees a purpose built Biorepository has been established to securely store samples donated by patients and healthy volunteers taking part in clinical research studies.

 The Biorepository facility is a joint venture between the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals’ NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Sheffield.  The purpose built facility at the Northern General Hospital (NGH) site, which is located within the Centre for Biomedical Research, was part funded through a research infrastructure grant from the National Institute of Health Research awarded to the Sheffield Biomedical Research Units in Cardiovascular and Musculoskeletal Medicine.

 The Biorepository is a dedicated, air conditioned room containing 25 specialised freezers in which samples are optimally stored at -80˚C with round the clock monitoring and controlled access to the facility.

 Investigators in the NHR Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit based at the NGH are carrying out research into why people have heart attacks.  Their work depends on collecting carefully selected samples of blood, urine, serum and plasma from patients who have recently had a heart attack from which DNA and RNA can be extracted.

The NGH is a regional centre for heart disease and as such the hospital treats large number of patients, some of whom are approached to take part in clinical trials and research by providing valuable samples.

 “We hope to make a breakthrough in our understanding of heart disease by studying micro RNAs found in patient samples, micro RNAs are small pieces of genetic material that have only recently been discovered to modify how proteins are expressed through the disease process,” said Dr. Sarah Langridge, the cardiovascular biomedical research unit manager.

 Past practice meant twice daily manual monitoring of the storage freezers and the generation of written records in order to meet necessary governance procedures for storing samples. To upgrade this system the Biomedical Research Units, in collaboration with the Biorepository’s management team, chose the state-of-the-art Tutela computer system from Hampshire based Next Control Systems for their automated monitoring requirements.

 “There are a lot of legislative requirements concerning the acquisition and storage of patient and human samples and Tutela helps us prove that we meet them and at the same time reassures patients, scientists and the public that the samples are properly kept, “said Dr. Langridge.

Specialist sensors within the individual freezers report and record temperature measurements taken every ten minutes round the clock to a computer and also alert a fully manned 24 hour Alarm Monitoring Bureau should a problem develop.  The monitoring information can also be accessed by dedicated users remotely from home.

Early morning alarms are thus delivered with sufficient information for staff to make risk assessments without rushing to the hospital – an unwelcome practice from the past!

 “These samples are irreplaceable. There are very precious to us and Tutela is helping us to ensure they are kept safe and in optimal condition for use in research studies,” added Dr. Langridge.


PRESS:            Tim Bartholemew, Tutela for Next Control Systems, 6 Farnborough Business Centre, Eelmoor Road, Farnborough Hants. GU14 7XA. Tel. 01252 406398 Fax. 01252 406401

TRADE:          Sally Towle, Tutela for Next Control Systems, 6 Farnborough Business Centre, Eelmoor Road, Farnborough Hants. GU14 7XA. Tel. 01252 406398 Fax. 01252 406401. Mobile: 07909 751427.


« go back to News & Updates


News & Updates





an ISO9001:2008 company