HSC Services and Activities

The HIV Specimen Cryorepository (HSC) was established in 2006. The hosting institution of the HSC, the Fraunhofer-IBMT, has designed a central cryorepository for the advanced and standardized banking of all types of specimens and has developed improved cryo­procedures and cryo­equipment. Elements of this technology are microchip-enabled cryo tubes, which allow the partially automised withdrawal of sample material without thawing the remaining samples and which can be sent worldwide in a frozen state with an attached microchip containing all relevant specimen data. This principle and its technical solution provide the only approach of a fully mismatch-proof handling no matter how many millions of sample has to be stored. Cryodevices for well-defined freezing and thawing processes and a suitable databank and cryobank control architecture ensure optimal logistical workflows and are completing the concept.

The HSC is open to all CAVD members and can receive and store processed, frozen or unprocessed samples. Distribution of samples can be triggered by the owner of the sample.
These new developments ensure an optimized sample processing, cryopreservation and storage of clinical specimens and reagents generated in CAVD consortia. The clinical samples and reagents, generated under the highest possible quality standards, their key information, as well as all new technology developed by the HSC network is being made available for HIV/AIDS vaccine development throughout the CAVD.

The HSC services and activities help to optimize and harmonize the workflow with respect to integration of the HSC and its cryotechnologies into the existing and newly recruited CAVD consortia and trial sites. The following services and activities are offered:


Design and realization of a fully integrated small scaled biobank

The Fraunhofer technology comprises complete system solutions such as small scaled cryo­banks up to automated large scale biobanks and the design of biobanks for infectious materials up to biosafety level (BSL)-3.

Besides handling a large number of samples at lowest temperatures, the freezing issue and above all the reduction of the likelihood of sample mismatch are the most important objectives of future cryobanking. Therefore, the FhG-IBMT has developed completely new concepts and innovative techno­logical hard- and software components which are combined into products that meet these requirements. All components are developed for a permanent handling down to –169°C. The expertise in cryoequipment comprises the following items:

  • Smart cryovials
  • Freezing-thawing and storage system: Freezer Workbench and Access Tower
  • Laboratory & data management systems LabOS
  • Development of mobile laboratories up to biosafety level (BSL)-3

The costs to set up a fully equipped small scaled cryobank (including Freezer Workbench, 2 Access Towers, transport vessels and the Lab & Data management system) amount to 650,000 US$.


Centralized backup storage and full sample management at HSC

Precious samples can be stored at our cryobank under highest quality standards. The sample management can be extended to your needs, e.g.  integration of inventory data into the data bases, harmonization of data or safe relabeling and anonymization of unique sample collections


Supporting services for clinical vaccine trials

  • Full sample management
  • SOP development and version management
  • Sample and data logistics, integration in LIMS/LDMS
  • Establishment of state-of-the-art freezing procedures on site, validation of cooling chain management
  • Integration of sample data in centralized data structures (Data Hub for Data Space) according to specifications of sample owner


Provision of cryomedia and protocols for controlled cryopreservation

After different serum free media, we have developed a fully synthetic, xeno-free croymedium and protocols for controlled cryo preservation for PBMCs and other cellular samples. Since the medium is completely protein-free, it entails the following advantages:

  • Chemically fully defined
  • No batch variations at all
  • Completely standardized
  • Serum-, protein- and animal component free / xeno-free
  • No import restrictions

The medium can even be used for therapeutic applications in vivo.


Provision of bioreagents

HSC offers the production of biomaterials according to Good Clinical Laboratory Practice GCLP, for instance:

  • HIV-1 Env-pseudoviruses
  • Monoclonal Antibodies
  • HIV-1 infectious molecular clones (IMCs)


Training and Workshops (GCLP conform)

HSC offers Training workshops related to cryopreservation and sample handling (ELISpot, virus cultivation, stimulation assays, neutralization assays, Quality Assurance)

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08-Aug-12 15:19

WHO-UNAIDS Guidelines

At the annual meeting of the GHRC consortium in December 2011 it was proposed that the new edition of the Guidelines should be a collaborative effort between WHO and the GHRC consortium. To ensure that the Guidelines include all aspects of HIV vaccine research, an advisory group of experts representing different fields met in a 3-day meeting at the premises of the FhG-IBMT in Sulzbach on 18-20 June 2012.