Sample Sharing

MassCPR COVID-19 Biorepository Sample Sharing System


MassCPR is developing a system for searching and requesting COVID-19 samples throughout our member institutions. Our central goal is to assure transparent and equitable access to COVID-19 samples and associated clinical data to members of the MassCPR to advance research. The tools and processes for enabling access are evolving; up-to-date information will be available on this page as progress is made.

Samples: The MassCPR COVID-19 biospecimens are obtained from subjects enrolled in consented and IRB approved studies at member institutions. Inventory is currently limited to specimens collected at MGH and BWH that are at the Ragon Institute’s COVID-19 Cellular Immunology Database (CIDB) but will be more robust as we develop an integrated system for identifying specimen location and availability throughout the MassCPR institutions. In that future phase, specimens obtained at member institutions that are designated as “MassCPR” specimens will be processed and stored at the institution where they were collected; if resources are not available for specimen processing and storage at the collection site, then the specimens may be stored at a different participating site. Specimens are linked with clinical data that may vary by institution.

The types of samples that are available are listed within the request form. If more detailed information about samples is needed (e.g. processing method, immunological characterizations), that can be provided through direct communication with the lab manager once the request is approved.

How to request samples: Any investigator affiliated with a MassCPR member institution may request samples for studies that are funded, IRB-approved, and ready to get underway. Please use this form to request samples (link to Dropbox file). As noted in the principles for sample allocation below, we ask that you request samples from your home institution’s biorepository first (when applicable), and they will refer you to us if needed. 

Requests for MassCPR samples will be reviewed by the MassCPR Sample Access Accelerator Committee, which has representation from the Consortium’s member institutions. When requests are approved and deemed feasible, the investigator will be provided with the information necessary to access the biorepository and request the samples. The current inventory is limited to the Ragon Institute’s COVID19 CIDB. We aim to fill as many requests as we can as we grow the inventory and develop the MassCPRwide sample database. Thank you for your patience as this process and tool develops.

Publication of results: Data generated from research conducted using MassCPR samples will be made publicly available within a reasonable time. In publications based on research conducted using MassCPR samples, investigators should acknowledge MassCPR via the following phrase: “Access to patient samples was facilitated by the MassCPR.”

A note on IRB and MTAs: MassCPR does not have its own IRB. Samples are de-identified but if an investigator’s institution still requires IRB approval then that approval should be obtained prior to requesting samples. MassCPR governance of sample sharing is still under development. For now, material transfer agreements (MTA’s) and related paperwork will be between the site where the specimens were obtained and the site that is requesting the samples.

Principles for Allocating Samples to Maximize Impact
In order to reduce duplication of research efforts and conserve the limited COVID-19 biosamples:

  • When applicable, investigators should seek biosamples from their (or their co-investigator’s) “home” institution before requesting samples from MassCPR.
  • Information in MassCPR sample request forms may be shared confidentially with MassCPR Working Group experts for scientific review and/or with other COVID-19 biorepository sample access committees at MassCPR member institutions. 
  • Project titles and a brief summary of all studies funded by MassCPR and/or that involve use of MassCPR samples will be posted and available to MassCPR members. (via the MassCPR intranet)
  • Data obtained from the use of MassCPR biosamples must be made available to other members of MassCPR in a timely manner and at least by the time the data is submitted for publication. (via the MassCPR intranet or other established data repository) 
  • Requests for additional samples must be submitted to the MassCPR Sample Access Accelerator Committee and include preliminary results obtained from research using MassCPR or member institution biosamples 
    • In practice, when a large number of samples is requested (>100), the initial approval might be limited to the initial pilot study to generate preliminary data before large number/quantity of samples are distributed.