Under the agreement Working Systems' e-health division, Global Health Pty Ltd, has been commissioned to create a cell bank inventory database and supporting software tools that will streamline the tracking of cryo-preserved cell samples stored at the Australian Stem Cell Centre laboratories, which are located at Monash University Clayton Campus.
The ASCC is a national consortium-based initiative uniting many of Australia's leading academic researchers and the biotechnology industry with the aim of developing products for stem cell therapies. Potential outcomes include regenerating heart muscle after a heart attack, manufacturing transfusable blood products, and reversing the tissue damage following an injury.
Warwick Murphy, Laboratory Manager at ASCC, said cell samples are stored inside Liquid nitrogen "vapour-phase" tanks with each tank holding up to 22,000 samples.
'To keep accurate records of sample characteristics, cell line history and culture conditions is a nightmare without an efficient database,' he said. 'Currently that information is in different places. Some is recorded manually in workbooks and other information is kept in Excel spreadsheets. So it can be extremely time consuming to collate and collect all of the information with regard to each cell. As the number of cell samples grows, it becomes increasingly difficult.'
The cell line inventory management system being developed by Global Health will record all of the information about each sample in a single database and will track the passage of cell lines through quarantine and storage within the centre. When cell lines are provided to investigators for research purposes, the ASCC aims to be able to produce a comprehensive report about the sample within seconds. Currently it can take up to an hour to produce such a report.
The project is scheduled to be completed in January 2006.