|NCI Launches Biorepository for Prostate Cancer
The National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health
(NIH), today announced a cancer biorepository pilot project designed to standardize
biospecimen collection and management among investigators of the NCI’s prostate
cancer SPOREs (Specialized Programs of Research Excellence). The project will
enhance the quality and availability of various biospecimens and associated data
for the broader scientific community.
The Biorepository Coordination System (BCS) will link researchers at 11 institutions
to enable and accelerate the evaluation of key genes and proteins as potential
clinical measures of prostate cancer. The project will create a common biorepository
of high-quality, clinically annotated biospecimens, including paraffin-embedded
and frozen tissue, serum and/or plasma. Researchers will gain the analytical
power of combined biorepository resources that will specifically support an Inter-Prostate
SPORE Biomarkers Study. This biomarkers study will provide a specific scientific
framework for testing the BCS model by conducting validation trials on five promising
prostate cancer prognostic biomarkers. Retrospective studies of three promising
biomarkers will provide additional evidence of their value in prostate cancer.
Research access to large numbers of high-quality biospecimens, annotated with
clinical data, is critical to an improved understanding of disease at the molecular
level. Over the past four years, NCI has sought to address this need by assessing
the current landscape of biorepositories in its own portfolio, across the United
States, and on an international basis. NCI also collaborated on the development
of a biorepository network model for the cancer community, the National Biospecimen
Network (NBN) Blueprint (http://prostatenbnpilot.nci.nih.gov).
The NBN model is similar to efforts being undertaken by several countries, and
it is anticipated that the BCS will test key principles embodied in this model.
“The NCI has engaged in a series of efforts over the past few years to determine
best practices for biospecimen collection and management to support 21st century
cancer research. With the launch of the BCS pilot project through the prostate
cancer SPOREs, we will be able to test many of these concepts and the principles
offered in a number of models such as the NBN blueprint,” said NCI Deputy Director
Anna D. Barker, Ph.D. “This is an important milestone on the path to support
the development of a new generation of molecularly-based cancer diagnostics and
The BCS project will enroll patient volunteers at many sites and obtain biospecimens
and associated clinical information using an integrated approach for ethical
oversight and informed consent. The project will also standardize operating procedures
for clinical data collection and biospecimen preservation, processing, storage,
and dissemination. The BCS will employ a common interoperable informatics system
compatible with the NCI’s Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid (caBIG™) (https://cabig.nci.nih.gov/).
Informatics is the collection and organization of information using computers
and statistical methods.
"There is great potential right now for the use of biomarkers as a means of
detecting and monitoring prostate cancer more effectively," noted Mark Rubin,
M.D., Chief, Urologic Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Dana Farber Harvard
Cancer Center, and Chair, Task Force of the BCS Development Committee. "But,
the ability to realize this potential depends to a large degree on having the
right tools and the right information linked in a timely and seamless way among
all participating researchers to speed clinical research."
To support the BCS project, the NCI has awarded a contract to the American Type
Culture Collection (ATCC®) of Manassas, Virginia, (http://www.atcc.org/),
a non-profit organization with 80 years of experience in the acquisition, authentication,
preservation, storage and distribution of biological reference materials.
For more information about NCI’s Prostate SPORE program see http://spores.nci.nih.gov/current/prostate/prostate.html.
For more information about cancer and the National Cancer Institute, please
visit the NCI Web site at http://www.cancer.gov or
call NCI’s Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).
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Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of
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agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical
research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common
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