Doctors Say Tissue Bank Will Help Get Drugs to Clinical Trials Faster

Feb 5, 2016
Originally published on February 4, 2016 3:52 pm

The University of Rochester Medical Center is partnering with a company called Indivumed to establish a tissue bank.

Indivumed is an "integrated oncology company" with "bio-repository expertise." Basically, they're going to help URMC build a giant freezer to store tissue samples collected during tumor removal surgeries from patients at URMC.

Doctor David Linehan is chairman of the department of surgery at URMC. He says having this bank will help advance oncology research and bring drugs to clinical trial faster, for a couple of reasons. First, it will allow them to store high-quality samples and keep them well preserved.

More importantly, the tissues stored at the bank won't just be random cells from a lab. They are in what is called an annotated tumor bank, so researchers will know how the patients they came from responded to certain treatments.

For example, Linehan says with pancreatic cancer patients that go through surgery, about 20% are cured, and 80% recur, meaning the cancer comes back.

"If you go back in the tissue, and say, we see this particular finding in the 20% that were cured, they all have this, then that tells you a marker of good prognosis. The 80% that recurred, they all have this, so maybe that's one of the reasons why this cancer isn't responding to treatment."

Linehan says the cells in the bank will be available to all different kinds of cancer researchers at URMC and Wilmot Cancer Center.

He says in order to have the biggest pool possible to draw from, they need as many patients as possible to donate to the bank.