Quality Bio-Specimens Available to Researchers
Madison, Wisconsin - The freezers at the Translational Science BioCore (TSB) in the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center are filled with more than 2,800 high-quality samples of human tissue, and researchers are encouraged to use them for their investigations.
The inventory is broken down into breast, digestive, head-neck, genitourinary, gynecologic and other kinds of tissue.
The Translational Science BioCore staff collects the tissue samples from biopsies following surgeries at UW Hospital and Clinics. The samples are sliced and placed onto slides, stained and categorized by a pathologist. The quality of RNA and DNA for each sample is assessed as part of a quality control process.
Then each sample is flash frozen and stored in special freezers at temperatures between minus 120 and minus 140 degrees.
"These low temperatures preserve the integrity of the samples and greatly extend their usefulness," says Translational Science BioCore director Dr. Ricardo Lloyd, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. "In addition to preserving the tissue samples, we set up clinical correlates for each of them."
For example, one researcher studying prostate cancer requested samples displaying three levels of the Gleason Score normally used to grade prostate tumors. Each sample could be linked to a diagnosis.
"We collect mostly tumors but we also can supply non-tumorous tissues, such as those linked to emphysema and other chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases," says Lloyd. "We have also begun banking of pre-surgical blood and bone-marrow aspirates. Markers in the blood samples can be correlated with tissue samples."
Researchers requiring fewer than 20 samples for a pilot study do not need to apply for Institutional Review Board (IRB) review or approval because the TSB has already done it through an IRB-approved "universal exemption," notes Lloyd.
"We can help investigators who may be intimidated by the regulatory maze of translational research," he says.
The Translational Science BioCore charges a nominal fee, and typically supplies up to 20 samples for a pilot study, though more can be had. Fresh tissues are usually acquired within 30 minutes of surgical removal.
The Translational Science BioCore is regularly expanding its services.
"We will soon supply tissue microarrays, or TMAs," Lloyd says. "This exciting technology lets researchers look for biomarkers in a single paraffin section containing 100 samples from different patients, with follow-up information about each patient in the samples."
Contact the Translational Science BioCore for more information.
Date Published: 06/10/2011