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Pathology Specimen Locator Core

The Pathology Specimen Locator (PSL) Core has developed and implemented a web-based, center-wide solution that enables investigators to identify, locate, and retrieve formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded pathology specimens for translational research. The Core has created an operation to eliminate barriers to accessing tissues and has united resources such as pathologist expertise, tissues, and histopathologic services. PSL was integrated with the DF/HCC Pathology cores in July 2008, and became fully staffed and operational in December 2008. Services include IRB application assistance, query design and execution, block and slide retrieval, and data management. Additional professional services offered include block selection by slide review, and coordinating pathologist collaboration.

Since July 2008, the PSL Core has completed 158 requests for 26 investigators (88% were DF/HCC members). The Core has provided services to the Breast Cancer, Gynecologic Oncology, and Genitourinary Oncology Programs as well as translational researchers across the DF/HCC member institutions. More than 1,000 blocks have been retrieved and screened by core pathologists. The majority of these blocks have been sent to other shared resources within the DF/HCC Pathology Cores for subsequent studies requiring sectioning and tissue microarray construction with the end product distributed back to the investigators.

Interface with CTSC to broaden interdisciplinary investigations

Authorized researchers across all of the Harvard-affiliated healthcare institutions now have access to more than 2 million well-characterized human tissue specimens. Through a joint initiative, DF/HCC and the Harvard Catalyst Clinical and Translational Science Center also plan to provide funding to offset some of the cost for obtaining tissues through PSL. In the near future, investigators will be invited to submit proposals for studies that will use services provided by PSL.