The modern pre-clinical pathology study may generate hundreds or even thousands of individual samples that must be processed and managed in a GLP-compliant manner.
This is a major undertaking and one that most companies carry out with some type of paper-based system.
Computerising such tracking and record keeping eliminates these paper records, allows samples to be located more easily across multiple sites and provides for a comprehensive audit trail and 'chain of custody' for each item.
The Matrix Track-IT software has been configured to provide tracking and reporting for samples of all types in such an environment.
Samples can be of virtually any type, from wet tissues, to embedded tissues in cassettes and/or slides as well as frozen fluids such as urine or proteins.
Once a sample is entered into the Matrix database, labels including bar codes may be printed and attached, allowing the location and ownership to be constantly updated as it is processed with full version control and auditing.
It becomes an easy task to determine at what stage in the process a particular sample may be, where it is located and who to call to request it.
Matrix Track-IT supports an entire process including: entry of study design, allocation of animals to each dosage group, scheduling of tissue collection, assigning tissues to cassettes, creating slides from cassettes, and eventually maintaining the study inventory, including a slide archive.
It records completion of each task at every step, who did it, when and any notes recorded.
Tissues may be collected, labelled, trimmed and placed into storage.
Cassettes may be labelled, loaded with tissues, embedded and stored.
Slides are labelled (usually with a bar code etched with a laser), loaded according to rules, stained and sent to the pathologists for reading.
Once they are read, they may be tracked back and checked into the archive.
Matrix Track-IT supports instances where samples from more than one cassette are contained on one slide and the reverse, where samples form one cassette may be contained on several sides.
A note may be attached to any tissue, cassette or slide at any step of the process.
Additionally, an image may be attached, that shows the exact location of a lesion found in the tissue.
'Special requests' for samples required in addition to those required by the study protocol such as re-cuts or different staining may be entered at any time and tracked along with all the other samples in the study.
Once all the samples have been collected and all the slides have been read, then Matrix Track-IT allows for a complete study inventory to be carried out prior to placing all of the samples into storage.
In many instances, the study design - dosage groups, subject IDs are contained in some other 'in-life' system and this information can be passed electronically into Matrix Track-IT, so as to reduce manual data entry and associated errors.
Matrix Track-IT software from Autoscribe allows the exact same program and code to be configured to the needs of these different applications.
Totally different fields and labels may be created using the Matrix 'one-time configuration' tools, so as to support these various applications, all using exactly the same source code.
Different localisations and languages are also supported.
The system may be deployed over the desktop and/or web delivering exactly the same user experience without writing any custom code or esoteric scripts.
One-time configuration ensures that the configuration of workflows, screens and menus needs to be done once only for both the desktop and web interfaces.
The benefits of this approach over the definition and creation of different custom written programs to meet these needs include: no source code to create, document and debug; fast iterations on the prototype before the final design is accepted; and each installation and application uses the same code.
An IT group can become fluent with the software so that they are able to deploy it themselves.
Data entry can be improved by the optional use of bar codes and scanners.
Supported platforms and databases include Oracle 9i or 10g and SQL Server 2005 or later.
Supported clients include Windows XP deployed via Citrix or Terminal Services and Internet IE 6 or later with IIS.