Working from Home

Despite the difficulties imposed by these trying times, the work of the MCRI Tissue Bank is continuing thanks to the dedication of the staff at the Children’s Cancer Centre. We have received the following report from Tissue Bank Coordinator Louise Ludlow who is currently working from home.

The COVID-19 health pandemic has had enormous impacts across the globe, and at The Royal Children’s Hospital we are adapting the way we work to ensure the safety of our staff, patients and our community.  On 22nd March the Children’s Cancer Centre Tissue Bank received a directive from Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) to scale back our onsite activities and, in collaboration with our Access and Oversight Committee, the decision was made to begin working from home.  A rapid transition was required to communicate this decision to the multiple stakeholders involved in our banking network. 

With assistance from the medical team on site we have continued to offer consent to all newly diagnosed patients.  A huge thank you to the oncology fellows who have continued to assist with offering consent to patients and their families during this difficult time.  This consent will allow collection of archival material from Anatomical Pathology and Cell Therapy and Flow Cytometry upon our return to campus.  These departments are instrumental to the success of our Tissue Bank.

However, during this time we have missed collecting and processing fresh tissue to valuable material such as snap frozen tissue and cryopreserved cells.  These cryopreserved cells are used for
in vitro and in vivo assays including xenografting (injection into mice).

During our time working from home three new applications for samples have been received and approved.  We have cleaned and improved our database incorporating enhanced clinical annotation of samples.  These activities have been enormously valuable for our bank and most likely would not have been completed due to a lack of time.

We have started planning our return to campus in the next month to resume our banking activities.  Temperature screening of MCRI employees upon presentation to the workplace is now in place along with new guidelines for physical distancing in the office and laboratory areas.  Increased laboratory biosafety measures clearly outlined by MCRI will be implemented to ensure the safe processing of samples.  We look forward to returning to the bank!

Working from home setup. Dr Louise Ludlow (Children’s Cancer Centre Tissue Bank Coordinator) about to begin work for the day with a cup of coffee.