What we do
The Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center Data Bank and BioRepository (DBBR) shared resource prospectively collects and provides de-identified biospecimens and associated epidemiological and clinical data to investigators with Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved protocols. Newly diagnosed patients are asked to consent to collection of blood tubes, completion of a risk factor questionnaire and permission to link their samples to clinical data. DBBR samples and data can also be paired with tumor tissue from the Pathology Network Shared Resource and clinical data abstraction from the Biomedical Research Informatics Shared Resource.
Additionally, non-patients, family members and friends of patients, and community members with no personal history of cancer are asked to participate in the DBBR as healthy volunteers.
We strive to provide specimens that are rigorously collected, processed and stored so the integrity of potential analytes will be consistent across all patients and controls. Tubes are drawn and sent to the DBBR laboratory through the pneumatic tube system at Roswell Park for processing into serum, plasma, buffy coat, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and DNA.
With expertise in epidemiology, biospecimen science and study methods and design, including participant recruitment, data collection and management to support analysis, we work closely with investigators to hone their research concepts and identify the best available biospecimen and data sources to support their research needs. The DBBR carefully gathers investigators’ requirements and provides detailed biospecimen inventory reports for banked sample and data inquiries, options and strategies for prospective procurement of samples and data, and time and cost proposals for new grants and funded studies.
- -80C freezers
- Liquid nitrogen tanks
- Desiccators for paraffin embedded tissue storage
- Tutela wireless temperature monitoring system
- Rees wireless temperature monitoring system
- Perkin Elmer – Janus liquid handler
- Autogen XTRACT 16+ nucleic acid extractor
- Autogen - XTRACT 16+® DNA extractor
- Molecular Devices – Spectramax Gemini XS plate reader (Fluorescence)
- Molecular Devices – Spectramax 384 plus plate reader (UV/VIS)
- Invitrogen by Life technologies Qubit 2.0 fluorometer
- BioMicroLab – XL20 tube sorter
- Thermo Scientific – NanoDrop 2000 Spectrophotometer
- Thermofisher – Qubit Fluorometer
Services and fees
- Provision of serum, plasma, red blood cells, DNA, PBMC and buffy coat, linked with clinical and risk factor data
- Biospecimen inventory evaluation and study feasibility assessment
- Incorporation of Data Bank and BioRepository (DBBR) services in grants, protocols and subsequent publications
- Detailed tracking of investigator service history
- Linking and de-identifying data and study data file storage
- Creating derived variables and preparation of analysis-ready data sets
- Investigator study specific collections and serial draws
- Microbiome collections – stool, swab
Project pricing will vary based on nature of request. Please contact Annmarie Nowak, DBBR Coordinator and Director, at 716-845-8295 or Annmarie.Nowak@RoswellPark.org for a project specific cost estimate.
How to request samples and data
1. Feasibility discussion
At the time of initial inquiry, investigators are asked to meet with or arrange a telephone call with DBBR Operations Director Annmarie Nowak to assess:
- The availability of appropriate banked biospecimens and data to fulfill the study request and/or determination of the need and logistics of additional (study-specific) collection
- Anticipated time frame for the research
- Service cost estimate and funding source for the research
2. Have an IRB-approved protocol
(Non-Human Subjects Research form, if Roswell Park investigator). All data and samples provided by the DBBR are de-identified prior to release for use in research. The DBBR maintains the link between participants and their samples and data. Investigators never receive any information that would allow them to identify donors.
3. Obtain approval for request from the appropriate Disease Site Research Group (DSRG) if required
- Requests for finite patient material including serum, plasma, red blood cells and buffy coat require DSRG pre-approval.
- Requests for <=2 ug of DNA per subject do not require DSRG pre-approval.
- Requests for healthy control specimens do not require DSRG pre-approval.
Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG) Program members with peer-reviewed funding are given top priority for requests, followed by Roswell Park investigators with newly developing programs, then external academic investigators with federal funding and finally commercial investigators. Fees for cost recovery are tiered for these different groups of investigators.
At the time of consent, each participant (patient or non-patient/control) is asked to complete a self-administered epidemiological questionnaire and return it via mail. The questionnaire contains over 1,100 items covering:
- Demographics and background
- Personal and family history of cancer
- Medical and cancer screening histories
- Women’s and men’s health issues
- Lifestyle (smoking, diet, physical activity, alcohol)
- Supplement and medication use
The questionnaire data dictionary and codebooks are available to investigators for research planning and analysis.
The DBBR maintains data handling procedures to maximize data integrity and quality and to sustain a minimum of a 75% response rate for the questionnaire:
- Questionnaires are scannable, minimizing the potential for data entry errors
- Patient portal access to electronic version
- Customized software is used for error checking
- Five-point follow up schedule used for missing surveys
- Participants are re-contacted for inconsistencies
Each sample collected from patients is annotated relative to the sample collection date, including:
- Diagnosis status (new, benign, follow up, recurrent); sample treatment status (pre-surgical, post-adjuvant therapy, etc.); personal history status (no prior history, prior history of same cancer, prior history of other cancer, prior history of multiple cancers) and personal history detail.
- Diagnosis date, laterality, histology, behavior, grade, tumor size, clinical and pathological stage, distant sites, tumor markers, surgery date and recurrence (as of the sample collection date). Linked to Roswell Park Cancer Registry.
- As needed, capture or link to extended clinical data including comorbidities, extended treatment history and medications at the time of sample collection, upon request.
All data (and samples) are provided to investigators de-identified only. Participant names and other protected health information are never distributed to scientists.
Recruitment and procurement
The focus of the DBBR is to collect blood samples from newly diagnosed patients prior to surgery or cytotoxic treatment. Patients who are post-treatment also are asked to participate based on identified future research needs.
The DBBR recruitment staff work with outpatient clinical staff to identify and get consent from patients and coordinate sample collection for the bank. Blood samples are collected alongside existing clinical laboratory orders and drawn by the phlebotomy service at Roswell Park. Family members and friends accompanying patients, as well as other visitors to Roswell Park, are also asked to donate samples as controls.
Control samples follow the same sample procurement and processing procedures as patient samples. Every participant is asked to donate 30 mL of blood; one 10-mL non-heparinized red top tube (for serum); one 10-mL EDTA lavender top tube for plasma and buffy coat; and a second 10-mL EDTA lavender top tube (whole blood for DNA).
For specific studies or groups 3 additional Heparin tubes are collected for Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cell (PMBC) preparation. The phlebotomist prints sample barcode labels for the blood collection tubes using the Roswell Park laboratory management system. This procedure produces an alert signaling the pending arrival of specimens for processing in the biorepository processing laboratory. Samples are sent from phlebotomy to the sample processing laboratory via pneumatic tube delivery system.
Sample processing and storage
The standard time from collection to freeze for DBBR blood samples is one hour. Specimens are centrifuged and the supernatant is aliquoted into 2D barcoded Matrix tubes or cryovials. Aliquots include serum, plasma and buffy coat (0.5 mL each) which are stored in a liquid nitrogen vapor. In addition, whole blood is aliquoted in 2 ml barcoded cryovials and stored at -80oC.
For specific studies and / or populations, blood is processed with density gradient separation techniques using SepMate Tubes (Stem Cell Inc). These cells are aliquoted into 2D barcoded matrix tubes and slow frozen before transferring to liquid nitrogen vapor for long term storage.
Genomic DNA is readily available from extracted blood using an Autogen XTRACT 16+ nucleic extractor which allows rapid extraction from up to 48 samples per day, a Qubit fluorometer from Thermofisher that facilitates accurate quantification and evaluation of double stranded DNA and a Janus liquid handling system from Perkin Elmer Life Sciences which is used to automate distribution.
Location & hoursRoswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
Data Bank and BioRepository Shared Resource
Carlton House, Room 350
Elm and Carlton Streets
Buffalo, New York 14263
DBBR Recruitment Service: Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Laboratory Service: Monday – Friday, 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Data Service: Monday – Friday ,7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
This shared resource is funded by NCI P30CA16056. Publications should cite the core grant in the acknowledgment section, if publications use data generated by the shared resource. Two copies of the publication acknowledging the core grant should also be submitted to the facility at Elm & Carlton Streets, Buffalo, NY 14263.
The Data Bank and BioRepository (DBBR) is a comprehensive data and sample bank, with biospecimens, epidemiologic and clinical information for investigators conducting translational research related to cancer prevention, etiology, detection and treatment. Collection of specimens and data from participants is ongoing for use in future research studies.
Meet our team
Biospecimen Recruitment Coordinator
Biospecimen Recruitment Coordinator
Biospecimen Recruitment Coordinator
Biospecimen Recruitment Coordinator
Biospecimen Recruitment Coordinator
Research Project Coordinator
Clinical Research Associate
Roswell Park Staff may reach DBBR Clinical Research Associates for recruitment issues by paging "DBBR" from inside the hospital. Recruitment staff may also be reached for questionnaire issues by telephone at 716-845-7774 or by email at DBBR@RoswellPark.org.
Senior Research Associate
Leonard Medico Jr.
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Annmarie Nowak, MBA
DBBR Coordinator & Director, Biobanking Systems Integration