The BCR is a CAP-accredited laboratory and biorepository within the Biopathology Center (BPC) at Nationwide Children's Hospital.
The BCR is the liaison between Tissue Source Sites (TSS) and TCGA’s network of molecular characterization, sequencing, and data analysis centers. After ensuring human subjects protection is in place, all patient specimens are rigorously checked for quality and processed using standardized procedures. After specimens qualify by pathology and molecular metrics, molecular analytes are distributed to TCGA characterization, sequencing, and proteomics centers. Clinical data are collected and checked using clinical data validations prior to the upload of data to the Data Coordinating Center (DCC). Nationwide Children’s Hospital BCR is composed of 6 primary workgroups: Clinical Outreach, Logistics, Histology, Pathology/Virtual Microscopy, Molecular, and Informatics.
Clinical Outreach works with the TCGA Disease Working Groups to identify the acceptance criteria for each tumor study and what clinical data elements need to be collected. This group then trains new Tissue Source Sites as to the guidelines for submission of specimens and clinical data.
The Logistics team performs the biorepository functions of the BCR. This includes the in-bound shipment and accessioning of patient samples and out-bound shipment of DNA, RNA, and tissue for molecular and proteomic analysis. Logistics also maintains short-term storage of specimens during the qualification process, as well as long term storage using best practices.
The histology functions are performed by histotechnicians, and frozen sections are prepared from all samples that are to be processed for analysis.
The Virtual Microscopy group images all frozen sections and assigns cases to expert pathologists to confirm diagnoses and record histologic findings. Images from qualified cases are uploaded to the DCC.
The Molecular lab co-isolates DNA and RNA from cases that pass pathology review, and ensures the resulting nucleic acids pass quality control metrics. As a final check, tumor and normal control samples are genotyped using a custom SNP panel to confirm both samples are from the same patient. This group has developed other procedures in support of TCGA tumor studies, including microsatellite instability testing for select studies.
Informatics ties all the processes together and transforms the data for upload to the DCC. Work includes development of clinical data forms, data validations, and XML formats for uploading of biospecimen and clinical data to the DCC.