Clinical Breast Care Project at Walter Reed Army Medical Center
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Crusading against Breast Disorders through Prevention, Diagnosis, Treatment and Research
  Clinical CareRisk ReductionTissue BankingFocused ResearchBiomedical Informatics  

Tissue Banking

Pillar Specific Objectives:

  • Collect and store specimens of breast tissues, lymph nodes, bone marrow aspirates, serum, blood cells (leukocytes), and plasma from every patient undergoing a breast biopsy and/or breast surgery at Walter reed Army Medical Center, Windber Medical Center, the Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center in Windber, PA or Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, Maryland who consent to participate in this study. Use the power of this tissue bank to dramatically further breast disease research.

The tissue banking pillar was established at both sites in collaboration and entails acquisitions, storage, and movement amongst the sites for research purposes of tissue garnered from all breast surgeries being preformed at both locations. The robust IRB-approved protocol that enables this pillar is unique in four critical aspects: It is a tissue usage protocol, not a tissue repository protocol. It is hypothesis-generating, not hypothesis-driven research; It allows for patients to pre-consent for secondary, future uses of the tissues in presently-unknown research; It contains a unique fail-safe mechanism to protect the complete diagnostic integrity of all samples.

The blood and tissue bank plays a vital role in genomic and proteomic research by providing a consistent supply of high-quality and well-annotated human tissue from a good representation of the military and civilian population.

The tissue bank is instrumental in studying the evolution of breast disease from normal to cancerous tumor. The bank represents our hope for improvement in the diagnosis, outcome and quality of life for breast-cancer patients.

The tissue bank at Windber Research InstituteUnder the direction of Stella Somiari, Ph.D., the tissue bank at Windber Research Institute acquires and banks large numbers of high quality and well annotated normal and diseased tissue specimens. These specimens are obtained from fully informed and consented donors using Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved protocols and are accompanied by detailed clinical, family history and demographic information. The tissue bank has established Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for tissue acquisition, handling, processing, packaging and shipping. All collaborators at participating clinics/medical centers utilize these procedures to ensure that the integrity of the specimen is maintained.

  • Each specimen is identified by a unique sample ID that provides a link to the donorís corresponding clinical information and this unique ID also serves as the link to a Clinical Laboratory Workflow System (CLWS) which tracks the clinical (patient enrollment and questionnaire completion), banking (specimen collection, processing and shipping) and research operations/activities.
  • Tissue types in our collection include plasma, serum, tissue embedded in optimum cutting temperature (OCT), formalin fixed paraffin embedded, and flash frozen. We also isolate and bank tissue derived products such as DNA, RNA and protein for research. Very stringent SOPs are in place for the process of extraction of these tissue-derived products and for quality control/quality assurance (QA/QC). The WRI tissue bank currently has 5 isothermal freezers each with the capacity to store 36,000 specimens.
  • For all specimens obtained from surgical procedures, routine histology is performed to obtain representative Hematoxylin and Eosin (H & E) stained sections for imaging/archiving. All H & E sections are imaged on the Trestle SL-50 imaging system and these images are available online to designated collaborative sites. A certified pathologist verifies all tissue specimens and WRI has telepathology capabilities, which can also be utilized for pathology verification when a second pathologist opinion is required to confirm specimen diagnosis. Other uses of the telepathology capabilities include the verification of Laser Capture Microdissection (LCM) sections (by pathologist) to ensure the correct areas are captured for research. The telepathology system at WRI is the Trestle Corporation’s Medmicro system, which permits the pathologist to remotely view, navigate and share images at sub-micron resolution over standard internet connections in real-time.

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