Director: Ronny Drapkin, MD, PhD, Dana-Farber / Harvard Cancer Center

Ronny DrapkinAccess to well-characterized specimens is critical to the research objectives of the SPORE program. The Specimen Core provides investigators access to a large and diverse repository of carefully collected specimens for research, as well as comprehensive information about the clinical history of women providing the specimens and detailed results from analyses conducted on specimens. A Specimen Review Committee reviews all requests for POCRC specimens and prioritizes their distribution to investigators/projects it believes will significantly advance the current state of ovarian cancer research.

The Specimen Core has two primary objectives.The first goal is to consistently collect and process the highest quality specimens possible, working closely with investigators to evaluate current and anticipated specimen needs and requirements. The database that supports this work, the POCRC Informatics System, serves as a foundation for communication and collaboration among all projects and cores. The second goal is to provide special services to projects. Research laboratories associated with this Core provide pathology review, antibody development, establishment and characterization of primary ovarian cancer cell cultures and cell lines, and conduct of timely assays for biomarker panel validation all of which supports various POCRC projects.

In addition to development and maintenance of a biological specimen repository that houses blood, tissue and fluid specimens, the Specimen Core includes investigators with multi-disciplinary expertise, and laboratories with strengths in research areas that are pivotal to support of translational research. Involving several different laboratories with specific expertise in assay development, biomarker validation and specimen characterization allows this Core to take full advantage of the scientific expertise available at collaborating institutions. The pooling of laboratory resources in a highly inter-related manner ensures that projects are served utilizing the most up to date technology, methods and equipment available locally.

The specific aims of the Specimen Core are:

  • In collaboration with the Clinical Core, to collect, process, store, and track clinical specimens to (a) meet the specimen needs of SPORE project investigators, (b) utilize clinical specimens to their full capacity without compromising their quality, (c) expand the repository, and (d) make repository contents available for use in POCRC-related projects and for innovative collaboration with outside investigators.
  • Provide key laboratory services in accordance with program goals, including (a) centralized pathology review of all tissues in the repository, (b) antibody and biomarker assay development, (c) gene and protein expression analysis, (e) conduct of timely biomarker measurements using stored and newly collected blood samples.
  • Provide quality control for all components of the Specimen Core including specimen data entry, biomarker assays and routine repository audits. In collaboration with the Informatics Core, the Specimen Core will manage receipt of results and information from the participating laboratories.
  • Develop or refine specimen collection and processing protocols to meet research needs of SPORE investigators and to accommodate emerging technologies.
  • Facilitate review of specimen requests and distribution of specimens for approved developmental or collaborative studies. Coordinate transfer of tissue, blood and other unique samples to projects in accordance with specimen use protocols and policies of the Specimen Review Committee.

To learn more about specimen availability and how you can request POCRC repository specimens for your research, click here.

Other Research

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Clinical Core
Informatics Core
Specimen Core
Leadership Core