At D3G we treat specimens as a precious resource that not only relies on the generosity of donors and practitioners, but also requires effective interactions between researchers and practitioners and amongst researchers as well. Accordingly, D3G is keen to foster across-the-board improvements in this key aspect of translational research.

Regional variations notwithstanding, several common principles can be recognised and these are fully supported by D3G.

Most importantly these principles embrace the needs for:

  • compliance with ethical requirements, cognisant of variations across different jurisdictions
  • bureaucratic efficiency, to maximise time for actual research
  • clinical stringency regards representative sampling and case reporting
  • scientific stringency regards standardised specimen handling and research reporting
  • open access to all suitably qualified researchers, and to sensibly broad lines of investigation
  • maximising the value obtained from each specimen

Traditionally, specimen matters have been dealt with by individual research groups and their "tame practitioners" on an ad hoc basis. The D3G network offers a fabulous opportunity to improve this situation, as has been commenced in Melbourne and elsewhere in our region.

Evolving experiences at Melbourne

In Melbourne, D3G members have made substantive progress implementing effective specimen procedures at local network scale. It's likely that many elements will be transferrable to other locations.

Key areas being worked on include:

  • umbrella ethics, covering multiple practitioners (hospital & private) and research teams
  • network of contributing practitioners, both local and regional/remote
  • standardised protocols for fixed and frozen specimens
  • centralised specimen banks (lab-based) plus new frozen-holding facilities in hospitals
  • multi-use strategies – effective sharing between labs and efficient use within labs
  • intercommunication – what is available, who needs what, and who has what to spare?

Who to contact?

Contact the D3G Directors for further information and guidance.