The Cooperative Human Tissue Network (CHTN) has played an important role since 1987 as a source of human tissues to support biomedical research. As the Western Division of the CHTN, we propose to continue to serve the scientific community by procuring and distributing biospecimens in an efficient, cost-effective manner.
The specific aims of this application are: 1) To collect, process and distribute high quality human solid tissue and biofluid specimens with appropriate clinical annotation to qualified researchers on a prospective basis;2) To apply a rigorous Quality Management System to all aspects of the program;3) To provide tumor macrodissection, tissue microarray "build on demand" and RNA/DNA extraction services, as requested;4) To collect and bank pre-neoplastic and rare lesions to facilitate basic research in tumor progression and early translational research;5) To protect patient confidentiality by obtaining informed consent for collection of extraneous tissue and biofluids for research, and through de-identification of specimens, and by continuing to partner with VUMC patient advocates to engage patients and provide opportunities for participation in research;6) To develop and integrate new business models and informatics (IT) strategies that improve operational efficiency, by developing a third generation network Investigator IT system for request sharing;7) To develop innovative internal IT programs by partnering with VUMC BioVu project to link tissue samples to large clinical datasets, and by providing an internal mechanism for research results sharing at VUMC as a pilot program;8) To expand CHTN marketing and education efforts through strategies to increase awareness in the scientific community. In 12 years as a CHTN Division, we have been an innovative and highly productive member of the network, distributing over 63,170 specimens to 723 investigators in the last 5 years. We have developed critical SOPs and integrative biorepository software that have been implemented throughout the CHTN. Our goals in the next funding period include continuing to provide numerous high quality biospecimens and to develop innovative IT programs to improve efficiency and communication within the network and with investigators.
The goals of this application are highly relevant to furthering research in cancer and other diseases and in engaging and educating patients and the public regarding research opportunities in biospecimens donation. By providing high quality well-annotated human tissue biospecimens in a cost-effective manner, CHTN VUMC will facilitate research that will increase our understanding of human diseases and may eventually have a significant impact on public health and the care of the individual patient.