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International reproductive health studies - liquid nitrogen resistant labels

Oliver StocktonWritten by Oliver Stockton, Managing Director, CILS



Does CILS print liquid nitrogen resistant labels, or can we do it ourselves?

This is a common question asked of us by project managers especially when a clinical study is going to take place in a country where the facilities available are uncertain and the trial is at short notice.

When 0.7ml tubes need to be identified and stored in liquid nitrogen, a durable self-laminating tube label continues to be the preferred choice. Large studies of 10,000 patients can result in the need for hundreds of thousands, perhaps over a million labels over the course of a year or two. But how can they be printed?

There are two options:

OPTION 1: Clinical study tube labels can be pre-printed with your specific data with the labels supplied ready to apply to the 0.7ml tubes. Unique data is usually provided by spreadsheet or database, printed by us onto the labels and supplied to you ready for allocation to clinical study patients.

OPTION 2: The alternative is for you to print the labels yourself using a low-cost thermal transfer printer. Prices start from as little as £370 for an entry-level printer up to £1690 for a heavier duty one. Our team of specialists will be able to work with you to assess your requirements and recommend a thermal transfer printer that will be fit for purpose.

Once purchased, these are usually shipped to the clinical centres where the blood, serum, urine, semen, etc. are collected. Blank labels are supplied with the printer and further label orders can be shipped to the trial locations or the clinical trial hub for distribution.

In cases where a trial is imminent, behind schedule or the trial teams have not fully established themselves, a common solution is to have both printed and blank labels. You could have a suitable quantity of labels pre-printed so that the start of the sample collection is not delayed and this will give your project team time to get familiar with the printing equipment and printing onto blank labels.

This is a service that we have provided many times globally and most recently to Gambia, Namibia, Kenya, and Mozambique. As part of our standard service, we also provided remote thermal transfer printer and label set-up guidance by Webex/video conference, as well as making available a set of informative and helpful video clips.

If you have an overseas clinical trial to organise or require a thermal transfer printer and liquid nitrogen resistant labels, please get in touch.

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