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Consolidated biospecimen request service launched

July 25, 2013

The Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute has launched a “one-stop shop” for investigators who need access to specialized biospecimen collections to advance their research.

Tatiana Foroud

Tatiana Foroud, Ph.D.

Biological samples such as DNA, RNA, plasma, serum and tissue are often key resources for new research studies. However, researchers have long found it challenging to know where to go for different kinds of samples due to the number of different biobanks across the Indiana CTSI member institutions of IU, Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame.

“This is a major step forward for biobanking,” said Tatiana Foroud, Ph.D., scientific director of the Indiana Biobank and P. Michael Conneally Professor of Medical and Molecular Genetics at the Indiana University School of Medicine. “The goal of this effort is to help advance research by allowing investigators to come to a single place and identify which biobank has the samples they need for their research.” The page also makes it possible for the first time for researchers to request samples online from any one of these resources – or all three – using a simple online form. The new biospecimen access page on the Indiana CTSI HUB provides basic information about various biobanking services at the IU School of Medicine, including Indiana Biobank, the Susan G. Komen Tissue Bank at the IU Simon Cancer Center and the IU Simon Cancer Center Tissue Procurement and Distribution Core.

“This system makes it much easier to request samples,” Dr. Foroud said. “Other biobanks that can share samples with other researchers are also encouraged to add their biobank description to the new biospecimen access page on the Indiana CTSI HUB.”

Currently participating biobanks include:

  • The Indiana Biobank, created in 2010 to collect genetic information from volunteers across Indiana, includes blood samples from all ages, races and sexes. Samples are also linked to volunteer’s electronic medical records. Available biospecimens include DNA and RNA from blood samples.
  • The Komen Tissue Bank at the IU Simon Cancer Center, created in 2007 with a grant from Susan G. Komen, includes normal breast tissue from female volunteers over 18. The only biobank in the world to collect healthy breast tissue, the Komen Tissue Bank aims to accelerate research on the cause and prevention of breast cancer. Available biospecimens include fresh frozen tissue; formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue; blood products, including whole blood, plasma, and serum; and DNA from lymphocytes.
  • The IU Simon Cancer Center Tissue Procurement and Distribution Core, created in 1994, includes remnant surgical tissue from adult and pediatric cancer patients at the IU Health Simon Cancer Center, IU Health University Hospital, IU Health Methodist Hospital and Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health. Available biospecimens include frozen paraffin-embedded tissue, including tumor, normal adjacent; blood samples; bone marrow samples; cheek swabs; and DNA and RNA extracted from blood or tissue samples. Samples may be annotated based upon patient’s electronic medical records. The collection also began to store hematological malignancies in 2007.

“All three of these biobanking facilities have come together to create this new resource on Indiana CTSI HUB,” said Dr. Foroud. “Our goal is to increase access to these resources and promote the use of biospecimens in research across IU, Purdue and Notre Dame.”

As always, researchers with specific questions about samples and data at Indiana Biobank, the Komen Tissue Bank at the IU Simon Cancer Center and the IUSCC Tissue Procurement and Distribution Core are encouraged to contact these services. Specific samples requests can then be processed using the consolidated biospecimen request form.

To learn more about biospecimen resources or to request biospecimens online, visit the Indiana CTSI HUB at www.indianactsi.org/biosamplesrequest.

To add your biospecimen collection to the biospecimen access page, contact tforoud@iu.edu.

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