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U.S. National Institutes of Health
Cancer Diagnosis Program Cancer Imaging Program Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program Developmental Therapeutics Program Radiation Research Program Translational Research Program Biometric Research Branch Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Last Updated: 04/25/2012


Human Tissue Specimen Resources

The Resources Development Branch (RDB) of CDP stimulates, develops, and supports human tissue specimen resources to ensure availability of tissue specimens for basic and translational cancer research. The branch provides information on legal and ethical issues and human subjects policy as they apply to human specimen resources. Access to high-quality tissue specimens and clinical and outcome data is critical to continued scientific progress. RDB monitors changes in scientific needs for tissue specimen resources and acts to ensure that changing needs for specimens can be met in a timely manner.

The following tissue resources are available from CDP:

Cooperative Human Tissue Network

Rodrigo Chuaqui, M.D.

The Cooperative Human Tissue Network (CHTN) provides access to human tissue for basic and translational scientists from academia and industry with a goal to accelerate discoveries in cancer diagnosis and treatment.  The CHTN offers prospective investigator-defined procurement of malignant, benign, diseased, and uninvolved (normal adjacent) tissues. Six regional member institutions coordinate the collection and distribution of tissues across the U.S. and Canada. Trained personnel perform the retrieval, preservation, and delivery of specimens obtained from surgical resections and autopsies. Since its establishment in 1987, CHTN has provided more than 800,000 high-quality specimens from a wide variety of organ sites to several thousand investigators. The CHTN also produces and distributes tissue microarray (TMA) sections from multiple tissue types and disease-specific designs. Details of these TMAs and investigator-defined tissue procurement may be found on the CHTN Website.

Cooperative Group Banks (CGB) Associated with NCI-supported Phase 2 and 3 Clinical Trials

Irina A. Lubensky, M.D.

The Cooperative Group Banks (CGB) collect and store high-quality, well-annotated human specimens from cancer patients in NCI-funded, phase 3 and large phase 2 clinical treatment trials. These banked specimens are most useful for clinical correlative studies on uniformly-treated patient populations.

RDB’s support of the CGBs ensures that the Cooperative Oncology Groups implement best practices, such as common data structures and standardized collection and storage practices. Currently, each group has a review process for research proposals. If proposals receive favorable reviews, specimens with clinical, treatment, and outcome data can be made available to researchers through collaborative arrangements. The Group Banking Steering Committee was established from the representatives of all Cooperative Groups and NCI to lead and implement a harmonization of standard operating procedures and fair access to specimens. A common application process for using the specimens should improve access to specimens by the broader research community. Available information will include appropriate patient demographic, clinical, outcome, and treatment data.