cancer research

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…

The CHTN mission is to provide prospectively procured biospecimens to scientific investigators with the ability to modify procurement and specimen processing procedures to suit the individual protocol of each investigator. Basic demographic information and clinicopathologic data abstracted from pathology reports are provided to investigators. More detailed clinical annotation may be obtained by arrangement.

Most tissue specimens procured by the CHTN are distributed to investigators as fresh/viable aliquots or snap-frozen. Quality control (QC) for all tissue samples consists of histologic analysis of a paired formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue segment that is examined by a board-certified anatomic pathologist ensuring the delivery of correct tissue type and the elimination of highly necrotic specimens (Fig. A).

For tumor specimens, tumor cellularity, percent stroma and percent necrosis are…

Dr. Christopher Moskaluk

The CHTN takes note that human tissue samples continue to play a major role in cancer research. One of the latest national cancer research efforts takes the form of the so called “Cancer Moonshot” program that has been organized by the office of Vice-President Joe Biden. While the CHTN itself has not been tapped for this effort, some of the CHTN Principal Investigators have been involved in information-gathering and organizational efforts for this program. One subprogram of the Cancer Moonshot has been thematically termed the Applied Proteogenomics Organizational Learning and Outcomes (APOLLO) consortium. APOLLO will build on the enormously successful The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and Clinical Proteomic Tumor Analysis Consortium (CPTAC). These previous programs have provided open access to raw genomic and proteomic data to cancer researchers that have been useful in both discovery research by data mining and…