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Last Updated: 10/19/2020

NCI Launches the Cancer Moonshot℠ Biobank to Procure and Distribute Longitudinal Patient Biospecimens for Cancer Research

The Cancer Moonshot Biobank engages with patients and their medical providers to donate longitudinal biospecimens, and distributes the biospecimens and associated data to qualified researchers to accelerate research in cancer treatment

Photo of a cancer patient

The Cancer Moonshot Biobank (the Biobank) has developed a national, networked biospecimen infrastructure to serve the scientific needs of research projects including those funded by the Cancer Moonshot Program. The Biobank will enroll at least 1,000 patients with locally advanced or metastatic solid tumors and hematologic malignancies undergoing standard of care therapy who represent the demographic diversity of the U.S.

NCI developed the Biobank to understand how cancer changes over time, particularly as cancer becomes resistant to treatment. To accomplish this, researchers will analyze blood and tissue samples donated by patients over the course of their cancer treatment, for up to 5 years. Historically, samples from the same person collected over time have been difficult to obtain, yet such samples are essential for helping researchers understand how to better treat cancer in the future.

Diversity of Research Participants Is Essential to the Success of the Biobank

The Biobank is working with the NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP), a national network that brings cancer clinical trials and care delivery studies to people in their own communities.

  • Currently, 81 sites across the US are participating in the Biobank and are accepting patient samples.
  • Study sites include medical institutions whose communities have historically been under-represented in research, including racial and ethnic minorities and rural populations.

Patient Participants Play an Active Role in Cancer Research by Donating Tumor Tissue

Photo of a cancer patient speaking with a doctor

The Biobank is employing specific participant/provider engagement strategies to improve understanding of biobanking and its relationship to cancer research.

  • Patients who are at least 13 years old, are receiving standard of care treatment, and have been diagnosed with the following locally advanced or metastatic cancers can participate: multiple myeloma, melanoma, and colon, lung, prostate, colorectal, and gastroesophageal cancer.
  • A biomarker test will be performed on tumor samples in a CLIA-certified laboratory to determine the presence of DNA alterations in a participating patient’s cancer. The test will be performed at no cost to the patient. The physicians and patients may opt to use the results in clinical management, including analysis of data for acquired resistance mechanisms. The report will also include potential clinical trials for which the patient may be eligible.

Researchers Will Study How Cancers Change Over Time and in Response to Treatment

Photo of a cancer patient

The initial phase of this study will collect biospecimens to address the needs of the NCI Drug Resistance and Sensitivity Network External Link (DRSN), which works to understand the specific molecular features of cancers within a cancer type or across cancer types that predict response or resistance to therapies.

  • To be approved to access Biobank samples, the researchers must meet strict standards for ethical and secure use of samples and data.
  • Researchers will not know the identity of patients who donate samples.
  • Some of the biospecimens will be used to develop patient-derived models such as cell lines and xenografts through NCI’s Patient Derived Models Repository (PDMR), a national resource for cancer research.
  • Over time, researchers from all over the world will have access to biospecimens and data in the Biobank.

For more information on the NCI Cancer Moonshot Biobank, contact Dr. Helen Moore, Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research Branch, Cancer Diagnosis Program, DCTD (