The Tufts Biorepository Program has been created to provide a resource to support the research of members of the Tufts Cancer Center and other scientific faculty at Tufts Medical Center and Tufts University. The biorepository strives to provide banked frozen tissues of uniform quality for use by investigators while maintaining patient confidentiality. It is located in the Department of Pathology at Tufts Medical Center and its operations are managed by a Biorepository Coordinator with professional direction provided by an anatomic pathologist. Biorepository policies are governed by an Oversight Committee which is responsible for the policies regulating allocation of tissues to qualified investigators. The decision to provide specimens to investigators is based on the scientific merit of the proposed project and the perceived benefit of the study to enhancing the goals of Tufts Medical Center research and clinical programs. Tissue samples to be used for research purposes are available to investigators that have obtained Tufts University Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval. The IRB and the Oversight Committee must approve requests for tissues before any tissues are released to investigators.
A brief summary of proposed studies must be provided to the Oversight Committee with the specific aims of the proposed studies describing the specific requirements for the use of banked tissues. Justification must be given for the numbers of tissue samples required to obtain statistical data. Tissue allocation is based on the availability of the particular type of tissue. The first priority for distributing tissue is given to Tufts Medical Center and Tufts University faculty members with funded projects. The second priority is given to existing collaborative projects amongst Tufts Medical Center and University faculty members who require tissue studies as part of an application for funds from sources evaluating proposals by peer-review. The third priority is given to faculty members planning applications for peer-reviewed funding and who require preliminary data. Applications from other Tufts investigators are given consideration based on scientific merit of the project and the availability of particular tissues.
This service provides a major research resource to Tufts Medical Center and University faculty in both the clinical and basic sciences, with the goal of facilitating the translation of basic research to the clinical sciences while protecting patient confidentiality.
Biorepository services include:
Collection of surplus neoplastic and normal human tissues from surgical pathology specimens obtained at Tufts Medical Center.
Preparation of tissue samples according to established protocols which include: snap freezing of solid tissue samples; formalin fixation and paraffin embedding of tissue; and density gradient centrifugation of blood samples to isolate white blood cells prior to frozen storage of the blood components.
Maintenance of a separate database of the stored tissue samples by the Tissue Bank. This database interfaces with the anatomic pathology clinical database in the Department of Pathology to provide optimal and accurate pathologic diagnosis.
Appropriate protection of patient confidentiality of all samples.
Oversight Committee review of requests for studies that have gained IRB approval. The committee reviews proposals to determine if the minimum amounts of tissue requested are available and assures that the appropriate level of patient confidentiality is maintained upon release of the tissue.
Stephen P. Naber, M.D., Ph.D. Biorepository Director & Chief, Anatomic Pathology