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VCU Massey Cancer Center


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VCU Tissue and Data Analysis and Acquisition Core Laboratory (updated June 2019)

The Tissue and Data Analysis and Acquisition Core Laboratory (TDAAC), established in 2002, is a Massey Cancer Center (MCC) and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) institutionally supported resource directed by Michael Idowu, MD, MPH and managed by Pamela Jill Grizzard, BS. TDAAC serves as a biorepository for VCU, MCC, and collaborating outside institutions by acquiring and banking human cancers and adjacent normal tissues, as well as hematological samples for use in their research. The overall objective of TDAAC is to support translational research at MCC by functioning as the primary fresh-frozen tissue acquisition and processing facility for human solid tissue and hematopoietic specimens. The broad, long-range objectives of TDAAC are to provide a gateway through which investigators involved in MCC investigator-initiated studies and clinical trials can acquire the human tissue samples required to support their research, ensuring the safeguard of sample acquisition for patient care, and to preserve the molecular integrity of the specimens. This is done through the aegis of the VCU IRB-approved “Tissue Acquisition System to Support Cancer Research” (TASSCR) protocol, which can supply specimens to a biorepository supporting cancer research through acquisition of residual tumor and normal tissue samples along with informed consent from patients. Samples can thus be provided under an anonymous honest broker system. In addition, TDAAC collects tissue, hematopoietic, and other researcher-specific samples that support investigator-initiated, IRB- approved research projects or clinical trials. All frozen tissue specimens banked in TDAAC have a corresponding formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded counterpart in the Department of Pathology archives. Patients who sign the TDAAC informed consent documentation agree to have their residual tissues and/or blood utilized for any research question, including genomic data and health information for translational research. In addition, TDAAC banks hematopoietic specimens by cryopreserving mononuclear cells for future assays that may require primary cell culture.

TDAAC collects and maintains associated demographic and pathological annotation in a secure SQL2000 database with an Access front-end. Treatment and survival data can be linked to TDAAC cases via longitudinal data collected by the Cancer Informatics Core (CIC) or Cancer Registry. The specimen acquisition process ensures that the primary purpose of the specimen for patient care is maintained and the quality of the specimen is optimal for biomedical research. These services are achieved through leveraging a network of interdepartmental and informatics relationships within VCU Health. TDAAC staff provide samples of extracted, quality controlled RNA from human tissues, frozen sections, and cryopreserved samples of viable hematopoietic neoplasias. The resource director and staff provide consultative services for experimental design, data interpretation, and education of users in the use of biospecimens.

TDAAC is housed within a 1,400 ft2 laboratory space located in VCU’s Sanger Hall. TDAAC uses Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) standards to operate and incorporates the best practice guidelines for biorepositories issued by the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories and the National Cancer Institute. TDAAC also has access to the 6,400 ft2 Molecular Diagnostics (MDx) CLIA’88-certified laboratory located in the VCU Department of Pathology The MDx laboratory performs clinical and research molecular testing with state-of-the-art instrumentation. Within the two laboratories, TDAAC has access to the following pieces of equipment for sample processing and banking: 2 Bioanalyzers (Agilent 2100); 2 automated nucleic acid extraction (MagMAX Express), 2 Applied Biosystems Thermocycler 2720, 2 NanoDrop8000 spectrophotometers; a Leica CM1850 Cryostat; 2 Thermo Scientific Revco PLUS Ultralow Temperature Freezers; 3 Thermo Scientific Locator 4 PLUS Cryobiological Storage Vessels; a Beckman, Z2 Coulter cell and particle counter, and a Microm HM-310 microtome. All temperature-sensitive equipment is monitored by a wireless, web-based system (Viewpoint: 24/7 monitoring system), and ultralow freezers have liquid nitrogen (LN2) backup systems that automatically releases LN2 into the freezer in case of temperature failure. TDAAC is supported, in part, by an NIH-NCI Cancer Center Support Grant (P30 CA016059) to MCC.

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