The Broad, long term objective is to enhance the ability of the University of PA Medical Center (UPMC), to serve biomedical research as the Eastern Division of the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Cooperative Human Tissue Network (CHTN). The Eastern Division will through this coordinated, national program of 5 divisions, continue its contribution to the nationwide research infrastructure by providing access to human tissue.
Specific aims are to; (1) Provide high quality, well-characterized malignant, benign, and normal tissue, (collected by carefully trained personnel under exacting safety standards with regard for the rights of human subjects), for rapid delivery (along with standard and customized patient data sets) to primary (Eastern Division) and Networked (Southern, Midwestern, Western and Pediatric/Ovarian Division) researchers. (2) Work with investigators (CHTN users), scientific advisors and the research community to enhance service and ease of access through refinements in the application process, computer utilization, protocol development, request fulfillment and billing procedures. (3) Augment the network's fulfillment of tissue requests, particularly those for large quantities, rare tissues, or specialized procurements, by utilizing a targeted sourcing approach: areas of emphasis will include (a) maximizing existing sites, (b) addition of new institutions, and (c) development of specialized/unique resources. (4) Work closely with CHTN Divisions and NCI staff, participating in the CHTN Coordinating Committee and sub-committees and assisting in Network computerization. (5) Increase awareness of the importance of human tissue to research and of the CHTN as a resource for tissue (with an eye toward recruitment of new users) through representation at scientific meetings, maintenance of a researcher bibliography, and publication of pertinent data. Health Relatedness: Human tissues provide an essential model for the study of human diseases, including research into genetic abnormalities and pre-dispositions in cancer. Researchers are freed to divert more time to their research; quality control of diagnoses prevents erroneous findings. Design and Methods involve rapid fulfillment of individualized protocols; use of specialized sources for sterile/rapidly preserved specimens, follow- up data (informed consent, linked samples), etc; CHTN custom software/computerized networking; use of scientific advisors; on-line applications/information; remote site program to maximize tissue quantities/diversities; targeted sourcing: (autologous transplant bone marrow); new preservations such as breast cancer epithelial cell suspensions etc; innovative resources work with voluntary health organizations, tissue banks acquisition; clinical lab retrievals, use of newsletters, bibliography, mailings, etc., to increase awareness of the CHTN.
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