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Clinical study labels

Oliver StocktonWritten by Oliver Stockton, Managing Director, CILS



What is printed on them and the cold temperatures they resist

Here we share a typical example of what a clinical study customer prints onto their labels and the temperatures the labels need to resist.

This example is based on the requirements of an Early Career Fellow at a Cellular & Molecular Department of a University conducting a Pharyngitis Study. They are the end-user of small, cold-resistant printable labels for cryovials.

What is usually printed or written on these labels?

The design is usually quite simple, they are printed using a desktop laser or thermal transfer printer and often contain:

  • The name of the study
  • The type of reagent
  • The Biobank reference number
  • The date of the sample
Cyro labels

What types of tubes are labeled?

In this example, the labels are applied to 1.8ml Biobanking and Cell Culture Cryogenic Tubes that store samples in temperatures from general cold storage to the vapor phase of liquid nitrogen.

They also use 2ml Amber screw cap polypropylene microtubes that protect tissue samples from light and ensure sample integrity during boiling, freezing, and centrifugation.

What short-term temperatures affect the labels?

The type of reagent used was RNAlater® which is an aqueous tissue storage agent that permeates the tissue sample and protects cellular RNA in unfrozen specimens. RNAlater® is used so that the samples do not need to be processed or frozen in liquid nitrogen immediately.

RNAlater® preserves RNA in tissue for up to 1 day at 37°C (98.6°F), 1 week at 25°C (77°F), and 1 month at 4°C (39.2°F). Tissue samples can also be stored on a long term basis for at -20°C (-4°F).

The label required for this range of temperatures is relatively straight forward but the label adhesive and ink also need to remain intact at -80°C (-292°F). Some samples are stored in liquid nitrogen in a biobank at -180°C (-292°F).

CILS CRYO -196°C   - Cryogenic Labels

How does biobank tissue storage impact sample labels?

There are typically three different methods of sample storage in Biobanks, also known as biorepositories, bio-resources, or tissue banks. These depend on the type of sample and how the researcher needs to study a sample.

‘Fixed’ method – seals tissue samples into a wax block which are then stored at room temperature. There are still tissue samples from Victorian times stored by this method.

‘Fresh’ method – tissue samples are immersed in reagents and used within 24 hours or longer depending on the reagent used.

‘Frozen’ method – tissue is stored in small tubes, in racks and immersed in liquid nitrogen gas, or in a low-temperature freezer similar to the one that you have at home but very much colder at -80°C (-112°F).

In this clinical study example, the customer uses both the ‘Fresh’ and ‘Frozen’ storage methods, but it is the ‘Frozen’ storage method that demands a label with the greatest durability.

In closing, this customer was looking for the most cost-effective label that would resist all the temperatures involved, including storage in liquid nitrogen gas.

We supply them with our CILS LSL-7-W-10-TN labels which are our most commonly used laser printable labels for clinical studies and biobank storage in liquid nitrogen or at -80°C (-112°F). Laser printing is ideal for them because they already have a laser printer in their laboratory.

Thermal transfer printable options are available and CILS International can supply a dedicated desktop print station if required.

Click here to find out more about our Cryo Vial and Straw Labels or contact us with the details of your clinical study and we will provide you with the most cost-effective label to resist the durability requirements of your study.

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