How do I request specimens from the ACSR?

The ACSR solicits Letters of Intent (LOI) and short form LOIs from investigators throughout the year with a minimum of paperwork. Please follow instructions below for completing the online LOI.

LOIs that are completed in accordance with the described requirements, will be submitted for scientific review. Confirmation of receipt and submission of the LOI for scientific review will be documented via email which will include an LOI tracking number to be referenced in all future correspondence.

LOIs that are incomplete, incorrectly completed, for which requested samples are unavailable, etc., will be returned to the investigator for modification before submission for scientific review. In the case where an LOI is returned for modification, an ACSR PI will be assigned to work with each investigator to assist in the resubmission process.

  1. Investigators are encouraged to submit an inquiry specifying the type and quantity of biospecimen they are interested in obtaining to the ACSR via email
  2. The ACSR will work with the investigator to verify the availability of the requested biospecimens and further assist the investigator through the LOI process including assistance in identifying an Africa collaborator for requests of biospecimens from our Sub-Saharan African Biorepository (SSAB) at Stellenbosch University.
  3. Once the biospecimen type and quantity have been confirmed against the ACSR inventory, the investigator will be directed to submit an LOI. The LOI documents information about the proposed research plan as well as the number and type of biospecimens requested.
    1. Feasibility (Short) Form LOI is designed for pilot studies in which a minimal amount of biospecimens are needed for test development, quality control, and/or preliminary research. The Short Form LOI allows a researcher to request up to 20 biospecimens on a one-time basis for a particular study.
    2. Standard Form LOI is used for all other requests.
  4. The LOI is submitted to the ACSR and then forwarded to and reviewed by an independent Research Evaluation and Decision Panel (REDP) composed of experts in various fields. A priority score is attached and forwarded to the ACSR to present to the ACSR Executive Committee.
    1. Factors influencing LOI priority scores are:
      1. Scientific merit of the application
      2. Experience of the investigator
      3. Statistical validity of the study
      4. Valid sample size requested to accomplish study
  5. The ACSR Executive Committee (EC) makes the final decision on approving the request for biospecimens and associated data. If the ACSR is not able to supplement the investigator’s needs, every effort will be made to identify an appropriate resource.
  6. Upon review by the REDP and EC, an ACSR representative is assigned to assist with the distribution of biospecimens and/or to inquire about any scientific issues raised by the REDP.
  7. Once approved, an official letter with a commitment from the ACSR to provide the necessary biospecimens is sent to the investigator. The approval letter may be incorporated into NIH or other grant applications.
  8. After the investigator has verified that funding has been secured and IRB approvals have been obtained, biospecimens are released for disbursement. Investigators who fail to obtain funding within six months of receiving their letter of approval will have the approval voided, making those biospecimens available to other investigators.
  9. If the LOI is not approved, the investigator will be provided with a letter stating the concerns of the REDP and/or the ACSR Executive Committee. An ACSR representative will work with the investigator to resolve any remaining scientific issues in preparation for reconsideration.
  10. Notification of approval or denial of biospecimens will be emailed approximately 4-6 weeks from Standard LOI submission and 1-2 weeks from Short Form submission.

You may also complete the contact form if you require assistance or wish for the ACSR to contact you.