In order to minimise or ideally eliminate the influence of preanalytical processes on the quality of tissue samples, GBN established tissue proficiency tests for GBA biobanks in close cooperation with its Heidelberg partner in 2017. Both fresh and frozen tissue samples are used for this purpose. The focus is on sample acceptance, freezing of fresh tissue, sectioning and staining techniques, as well as extraction and analysis of nucleic acids. An independent reference laboratory verifies the measured parameters.
The proficiency tests allow to objectively assess the process-related performance of the participating biobanks, uncover potential for improvement and harmonise the corresponding processes. For example, an increase of the RNA yield from cryogenic tissue has been achieved across all partner sites. The concept of the GBA tissue proficiency tests consists of consistent modules for quality assurance and a variable module that takes results from the previous proficiency test into account.