Biospecimen Core Resource Wins NIH Contract to Further Cancer Research

February 20, 2018

The Biospecimen Core Resource (BCR) in The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital has received a new $4.5 million federal contract — with the potential of reaching more than $49.9 million over five years — to accept, process, ensure quality, and distribute tumor derivatives for a number of national cancer research projects. The BCR is part of a national processing and analysis pipeline supporting large scale cancer genomic projects.

“As the BCR for the National Cancer Institute’s Center for Cancer Genomics since 2009, samples processed and stored here have been analyzed at institutions across the United States to uncover the molecular, genetic and genomic characteristics of the major adult cancers and a growing list of pediatric cancers,” says Julie Gastier-Foster, PhD, the principal investigator of the BCR and lead scientist for the award.

The lab and repository that comprise the BCR have contributed to hundreds of published studies, most notably a series of breakthrough reports on more than 20 common adult cancers that were the focus of The Cancer Genome Atlas project, Dr. Gastier-Foster says.

The new contract will pay for the BCR to review and process all incoming tissue specimens to ensure they meet rigorous standards for downstream genomic characterization. Currently the BCR is processing specimens for the Cancer Driver Discovery Project, Clinical Trials Sequencing Project, Adjuvant Lung Cancer Enrichment Marker Identification and Sequencing Trials, Exceptional Responders Initiative, Burkitt Lymphoma Genome Sequencing Project, HIV+ Tumor Molecular Characterization Project and more.

The common goals of these studies are to unearth clues to the subclasses of different cancers and improve the medical community’s ability to diagnose, treat and prevent the diseases. 

The BCR consists of two sections. The Biospecimen Processing Center, is responsible for pathology review, nucleic acid extraction, and quality control of specimens sent from participating Tissue Source Sites and sending the tumor derivatives to genome characterization centers or proteomic characterization centers throughout the United States. The Biorepository and Archive is a long-term storage facility, and will distribute subsequent aliquots of nucleic acids or tissue for different types of analysis after the initial distributions. These additional distributions may be required to supplement sequencing that’s begun or to assay the samples using entirely new molecular platforms.

The new contract is yet another in the long history supporting cancer tissue banking, processing, and testing at Nationwide Children’s. The Biopathology Center, led by Dr. Nilsa Ramirez and Dr. Gastier-Foster has banked pediatric tumor specimens from all institutions in the Children’s Oncology Group, since 1989 and has grown to manage samples for a wide range of childhood and adult cancer research.

This new BCR funding is from the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Contract No. HHSN261201700015I.

About Nationwide Children's Hospital

Named to the Top 10 Honor Roll on U.S. News & World Report’s 2017-18 list of “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals,” Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of America’s largest not-for-profit freestanding pediatric healthcare systems providing wellness, preventive, diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitative care for infants, children and adolescents, as well as adult patients with congenital disease. Nationwide Children’s has a staff of nearly 13,000 providing state-of-the-art pediatric care during more than 1.4 million patient visits annually. As home to the Department of Pediatrics of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Nationwide Children’s physicians train the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric specialists. The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the Top 10 National Institutes of Health-funded freestanding pediatric research facilities. More information is available at NationwideChildrens.org.