Lab labelling system has clear advantages for samples

The Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility (CRF) in Birmingham has implemented a Brady IP Printing System, saving valuable time and creating clear, durable labels which withstand low-temperature sample storage.

Based at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, the Wellcome Trust CRF offers an unrivalled environment for high quality patient-oriented research, carrying out Phase 1 up to Phase 4 clinical trials as well as experimental medicine. Purpose-built consulting rooms and patient areas are complemented by laboratories providing a wide range of analytical techniques and sample processing services.

According to Dr Julie Williams, Translational Scientist and Laboratory Manager at the CRF: "Around 5,000 patients pass through our facility each year, generating some 2,000 blood, urine and other samples which have to be accurately labelled in accordance with MHRA regulations governing clinical trials. For example, pharmacokinetic studies monitoring drug availability within the body typically involve blood samples being taken at ten time points during the day. Once these samples are divided up, as many as 160 tubes require labelling with the date, study number, patient number, sample number and other information. Hand-writing up to six lines of data directly onto a tube is not only very fiddly and time-consuming, but issues such as legibility can compromise sample identification, and if the wrong pen is used by mistake, the writing will not withstand freezing conditions."

A Brady IP 300 dpi Printer, together with Brady’s CodeSoft™ label software and innovative FreezerBondz™ labels, was chosen as the ideal solution to the CRF’s labelling requirements, as Julie Williams explains: ‘We were very pleased that Brady UK not only gave us a demonstration of the printer we had selected but also enabled us to borrow one for evaluation by our user group. This confirmed that the IP™ Printer is very intuitive and suitable for our multi-user environment where sample labelling is carried out by nursing staff working on clinical trials as well as by technical lab staff.’

Designed for high performance on-demand printing, the Brady IP Printer automatically recognises the label material and ribbon loaded, checking the correct match and monitoring usage. The latest version of CodeSoft offers multiple wizards, making label design and incorporation of barcodes easier and faster than ever.

Julie Williams commented: ‘Printing labels saves us so much time compared with hand-writing on tubes and we can now add barcoding. CodeSoft includes a good auto date feature and makes it simple to set up a template for each study, so that every label includes the correct data types in the sequence specified by the study protocol. We use Brady’s Freezerbondz labels in various sizes, for 0.5ml up to 20ml tubes, and the printed information remains clearly readable whether samples are placed in a 37 ºC water bath or stored in a –80ºC freezer. The ability of the Freezerbondz material to stick to already frozen tubes is an important advantage, enabling us to replace handwritten sample information with printed labels on tubes from previous studies which are currently stored at –80ºC."

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