Due to the severe weather this past weekend in Tennessee, the CHTN Western division (based in Nashville, TN) will NOT be shipping fresh shipments on Monday, December 13th or Tuesday, December 14th. They hope to resume regular shipments Wednesday, December 15th. Thank you for your patience and understanding! Please contact kradin@chtn.org with any questions.

For the last 32 years, former CHTN Southern Division Principal Investigator (PI), Dr. William Grizzle, and Division Coordinator, Kathy Sexton, dedicated their professional lives to improving the world of biorepository sciences and assisting the research community by establishing and growing the CHTN into the most reliable biospecimen resource for the scientific community. In 1987, the CHTN Southern Division, formerly located at The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), was awarded one of the first of the three original CHTN grants from the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Although the CHTN is happy to report the NCI agreed to support the highly valuable resource for another five-year funding cycle, the CHTN Southern Division has changed locations and is now located at Duke University. This means we have to say good-bye to two of the founding members of the CHTN, Kathy Sexton and Dr. Bill Grizzle.

At least two "valleys of death" have been identified in the spectrum of biomedical research where blockage occurs in translating advances in scientific knowledge to clinical practice and decision making1. One "valley" is the translation of basic scientific knowledge to create new diagnostic techniques or therapeutic interventions that can be used in the care of patients. The analysis of human biospecimens can help cross these barriers. The analysis of biospecimens are used to either confirm the biochemical/biophysical/genetic mechanisms of disease or to test biospecimens in the workup of new diagnostic procedures or confirmation of biological outcomes of therapeutic interventions. It is the difficulty and expense in obtaining appropriate groups of human biospecimens to do such studies that contribute greatly to the obstacles in advancing biomedical research.

The break-through technology of tissue microarrays (TMAs) invented by Kallioniemi and colleagues in the 1990s2 …

William Grizzle

Does your biospecimen resource impact science like this?

The CHTN provided human tissue samples to one of three related manuscripts that were published in the September 2017 issue of Nature Medicine (1). These 3 articles were accompanied by a News and Views article (4); all were focused on the speckle-type POZ (pox virus and zinc finger protein) or SPOP (1-4). Of note, mutations in SPOP occur in over 10% of prostate cancers and endometrial cancers (4). Such mutations are associated with two specific areas of the MATH domain (about 140 residues such as amino acids) of SPOP which facilitates the degradation of proteins; thus, mutations anywhere in the SPOP gene might expect to result in inefficient degradation of some oncoproteins. Previously, it had been assumed that mutations in a small domain of genes such as in SPOP would have similar functional effects even in similar cancers (e.g., adenocarcinomas) in…

Why Biobank? A recent article was published explaining why there are many names scientists often suggest as an alternative to the word “biobank.” In his article, Biobanks: Why All the Names, Robert Hewitt wrote that biobanks are not meeting the expectations of patients, researchers and the society as a whole1.

Reasons for Dr. Hewitt’s perception are indicated as such. Retrospectively collected biospecimens, which exist in most biobanks, may not meet the requirements of the studies of the researchers. Additionally, the consent forms patients sign for the use of their biospecimens may not cover the proposed research. Finally, a highly selective review process can delay the release of biospecimens from the biobank.

A different author, Dominic Allen, once wrote biobanks should collect biospecimens prospectively in a trusted collection of networks2 to overcome some of these limitations. Fortunately, the Cooperative Human Tissue Network’s (CHTN) founders had the foresight…