Overview

The Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Biomedical Informatics Group in the Biostatistics and Informatics Shared Resource developed Acquire, a central, web-based data management tool for managing information on collection protocols, their participants, specimens, specimen inventory, clinical and pathological annotations, molecular biomarker data, and more. A more complete feature description is available in Acquire’s open access publication in the journal Bioinformatics.

If you would like to utilize Acquire for biobanks management or include Acquire utilization in your grant, please contact acquire-support@breastcenter.tmc.edu.

Features

The Biomedical Informatics Group supports the full lifecycle of a biospecimen with graphical “leader board” reports and health checks, inventory management, administrative announcements and sophisticated end-user permissions management. Supported workflows include:

  • Participant data capture: consent, demographics and clinical annotations
  • Specimen data capture: collection, accession, storage, maintenance, aliquoting or derivative creation and pathologic findings
  • Data capture workflow management: status checks on which key participant and specimen data are incomplete
  • Data quality checks: reports to help identify data or specimen collection quality problems
  • Resource allocation: public researcher specimen requests, RAC request reviews and specimen distributions
  • Reporting: data mining for biobank personnel and restricted-access searching for public researchers

Specimen inventory management is performed in a fully-integrated module of Open Specimen funded by the National Cancer Institute.

Service and Support

Diverse services are available to end users, and training is available from the Acquire coordinator. Please contact AcquireSupport@breastcenter.tmc.edu to schedule training or setup your account. 

The Cancer Center’s Human Tissue Acquisition and Pathology shared resource uses a central umbrella protocol and consent form to collect diverse biospecimens. Investigators are encouraged to collaborate with HTAP to ensure conformance to Cancer Center collection procedures. Some investigators have their own collection staff that affiliate with HTAP, whereas others use HTAP and/or Population Sciences Biorepository staff to manage consenting and collecting. Those interested in biobanking services can contact the Duncan Cancer Center's biobanks at Biobanking@bcm.edu.

When finalizing new collection protocols or initiating use of the Cancer Center’s umbrella protocol, investigators should collaborate with Acquire support staff in BIG who create collection protocols and user accounts within Acquire. Biobank managers can become certified to perform this activity. When additional clinical, pathological or specimen annotations will be collected for research, Acquire’s data managers will map draft forms to existing standard data elements, build data entry forms within the system where they do not already exist and create any new custom reports. Biobanking operational staff then enter data into Acquire.