The Radiation Therapy Oncology Group Biospecimen Resource is the central repository for all biospecimens collected as part of RTOG clinical trials. Over 12,000 individual biospecimen aliquots are received each year from over 1,370 patients entered into trials. The Resource is engaged in standardizing procedures for all RTOG Trials (for protocol writing, collection kits, specimen processing, and storage). Resource pathologists review all requests for tissue with RTOG leadership, both for feasibility and scientific merit. Biospecimens for approved requests are distributed to translational scientists. The Resource is responsible for quality assurance of all incoming specimens to assure adequate amount and the presence of tumor (for tissue). Four pathologists share responsibilities for QA and protocol review for the Resource, with expertise in GU, Head and Neck, Neuropathology, and Molecular Analyses. Tissue Microarrays are constructed from tissue blocks collected within many of the RTOG clinical trials, in order to conserve tissue, assay reagents, and to improve reproducibility. The Resource recently acquired an Aperio slide scanner to allow digital pathology for central review, TMA documentation, archiving of samples if they need to be returned to their originating institutions, etc. Strong informatics is required to allow translational scientists to know what is stored within the Resource, and to market the biospecimens to the translational research community. We have strongly supported this activity in the RTOG resource, including the recent adoption of the caTissue Suite platform for biospecimen tracking and enabling of interface with the caBIG grid. In the next grant period, linkage between caTissue and Aperio tumor slide scans will be established for newly collected specimens. Collaborations with the Group Banking Committee are a major component of RTOG Biospecimen Resource activities. We will continue to harmonize the Resource with GBC standards, including those for specimen collection and processing, access (tissue requests, material use agreements), and informatics.

Public Health Relevance

The collection of high quality biospecimens associated with cooperative group clinical trials will lead to translational studies validating markers for tumor prognosis and prediction of response to therapy. This will support improved quality of biospecimens, and expanded access for translational scientists, thus leading to better quality research and identifying patients for personalized approaches to cancer care.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Resource-Related Research Projects--Cooperative Agreements (U24)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZCA1-SRLB-5 (M1))
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Lubensky, Irina
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American College of Radiology
United States
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Woodward, Wendy A; Bristow, Robert G; Clarke, Michael F et al. (2009) Radiation Therapy Oncology Group translational research program stem cell symposium: incorporating stem cell hypotheses into clinical trials. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 74:1580-91
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