Quality assurance and management in experimental research


Currently, a worldwide discussion among stakeholders of the biomedical research enterprise revolves around the recent realization that a significant proportion of the current resources spent on medical research are wasted, as well as around potential actions to increase its value. The reproducibility of results in experimental biomedicine is generally low, and the vast majority of medical interventions introduced into clinical testing after successful preclinical development prove unsafe or ineffective. One prominent explanation for these problems is flawed preclinical research. There is consensus that the quality of biomedical research needs to be improved. ‘Quality’ is a broad and generic term, and it is clear that a plethora of factors together determine the robustness and predictiveness of basic and preclinical research results. Against this background the experimental laboratories of the Center for Stroke Research Berlin (CSB, Dept. of Experimental Neurology) have decided to take a systematic approach and to implement a structured quality management system. In a process involving all members of the department from student to technician, post doc, and group leader in over more than one year we have established standard operating produres, defined common goals and indicators, improved communication structures and document management, implemented an error management, are developing an electronic laboratory notebook, among other measures. On July 3rd 2014 this quality management system successfully passed an ISO 9001 certification process (Certificate 12 100 48301 TMS). The auditors were impressed by the quality oriented ‘spirit’ of all members of the Department, and the fact that to their knowledge the CSB is the first academic institution worldwide which has established a structured quality management in experimental research of this standard and reach. The CSB is fully aware of the fact that the mere fact that a certified quality management has been implemented does not guarantee translational success. However, we believe that innovation will only have impact on the improvement of the outcome of patients if it thrives on the highest possible standards of quality. Certification of our standards renders them transparent and verifiable to the research community, and serves as a first step towards a preclinical medicine in which research conduct and results can be monitored and audited by peers.


One comment

  1. Pingback: A Laboratory Critical Incident and Error Reporting System for Experimental Biomedicine | To infinity, and beyond!

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