Biobank Core Facility
The Biobank Core Facility provides fresh-frozen surgical resection specimens of tumor and (as possible) normal tissues to the University of Vermont Cancer Center and Medical Center researchers. Tumor biobanking has been ongoing at UVM for more than 25 years. The Biobank Facility was extensively revised during 2014. Currently, the Biobank has a collection of more than 2,500 tumor samples from a wide range of anatomic sites. Up to 40 new specimens are now collected each month. These are graded according to the time interval between surgical excision and flash freezing: Gold: <15 min., Silver: 15-30 min., Bronze: 31-120 min., and Test: >120 min.
The Biobank operates according to national and international best practice guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOPs). SOP compliance ensures the standardized and fully documented collection, annotation, data recording, quality assessment and distribution of biobanked specimens. The Biobank is approved to supply coded specimens to UVM researchers by the UVM Cancer Center Protocol Review Committee (PRC) and operates under the terms of two separate UVM Institutional Review Board (IRB) protocols.
Accessing Biobanked Specimens
Any cancer research that involves human subjects requires UVM Cancer Center PRC and UVM IRB approvals and requires that investigators have completed the ‘Protection of Human Subjects in Research’ tutorial: http://www.uvm.edu/irb/tutorial/index.html. Access to biobanked specimens requires the following:
- Liaise with Biobank personnel to review available specimens necessary to investigate the research question; design protocol.
- Obtain UVM Cancer Center PRMC approval. For most projects this will require submission of a ‘Laboratory Protocol’ (see Initial Protocol Submission).
- Obtain IRB approval for PRMC approved project. For most projects this will require submission of Common Protocol Cover Form, Human Research Protocol, and Waiver Request.
- Note: the use of coded Biobank specimens facilitates the IRB approval process.
- Further to IRB and PRC approvals (and Biobank utilization sign-off approval), specimens are provided to researchers who sign a ‘terms of agreement’ form confirming that specimens will be used as per the approved project.
- Services are provided at no cost to investigator.
- Search of Biobank databases for specimens meeting research project needs.
- Retrieval and distribution of de-identified/coded banked specimens.
- Potential access to specimens at collaborating institution Biobanks (collaborating agreement with UMass in progress).
- Potential for customized collection of specific sample types by consultation with Biobank personnel.
- Guidance with respect to formalities concerning the protection of human subjects, tissue ownership, limitations to how tissues may be used and responsibilities to UVM.
Primary Facilities (UVM)
- Two Revco -86°C UXF 500 BX Ultralow temperature freezers each with capacity for ~40,000 2ml vials; fully secured; alarmed for local and remote notifications of freezer failure events.
- Freezerworks Unlimited Management software v6.0 (Dataworks Develpopment, Inc., Lynwood, WA) for specimen and patient data recording and for freezer shelf space storage management. The software is an industry standard for Biobank specimen management and meets International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER) and Office of Biological and Biospecimen Research (OBBR) Best Practices for Repositories guidelines.
- Airclean Systems Combination Workstation clean air environment, vertical laminar flow hood for secondary tissue dissection.
Citing the Biobank Facility
- Please include citation of the University of Vermont Cancer Center Biobank in your abstracts, publications and conference presentations. Citations indicate to local (UVM, UVM COM, UVM Medical Center, LCCRO) and national (NCI) bodies the importance of the Biobank facility to UVM cancer researchers: “This project utilized specimens provided by the University of Vermont Cancer Center Biobank Facility supported by the Lake Champlain Cancer Research Organization, the UVM College of Medicine, the UVM Medical Center and the UVM and UVM Medical Center Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine.”