Pathology Specimen Locator Core

The Pathology Specimen Locator Core facilitates DF/HCC member access to tissue. This is achieved through a web-based, integrated network of distributed searchable databases that contain de-identified, coded, pathologic information on post-diagnostic, excess paraffin-embedded tissues and human materials. 

Access to annotated human tissues with cancer is critical for translational research, which provides an increasingly important bridge between basic scientific research and clinical medicine. The pathology departments in DF/HCC member hospitals have paraffin archives with millions of specimens, with thousands more being added each year. These specimens provide the essential substrate for the development of new molecular classifications of tumors and the discovery and validation of new biomarkers, which may improve diagnosis and prognostication, or serve as targets of new rational therapies. Together with clinical treatment and outcomes data, such specimens are key elements of translational cancer research. The speed at which discovery occurs is determined in no small part by how rapidly and efficiently investigators can access these specimens. In a complex multi-institutional environment like DF/HCC, the Core streamlines the process of tissue acquisition, provides a single point of entry for tissue-related services, and connects the necessary pathology expertise with bench scientists. It simplifies and demystifies the previously misunderstood and time-consuming process of obtaining tissues for research. The Core also allows more DF/HCC investigators to gain prompt access to tissues, while ensuring that the tissues used in research have the pathology validation, a feature that is critical for any study involving the use of tissues. All together, the Core offers services that enable more investigators with appropriate IRB approval to access tissues with fewer barriers and helps to advance the mission of DF/HCC.

Key Services

  • Block retrieval
  • Original H&E slide retrieval
  • Standard unstained slide (MGH Tissue Bank)
  • Standard H&E stained slide (MGH Tissue Bank)
  • Data search and review
  • Slide screening by pathologist
  • Block storage and management (120 days)

For more information on services go to: https://pathcore.hms.harvard.edu/catalog/

Highlighted Projects

Clinical Trial

Title: AZD9291 First Time In Patients Ascending Dose Study; Study Protocol 13-344
Principal Investigator: Pasi Janne, MD, PhD (DFCI)
Description of the Project: 13-344 is a NSCLC clinical trial which targets EGFR mutant patients that develop resistance to current EGFR inhibitors. If a patient tests positive for the mutation they are eligible to go on the trial so the biopsy portion is an extremely important part of the screening process. Patients who demonstrate a T790m mutation (the resistance mutation) have shown excellent response to treatment with minimal side effects.
Contribution of the Core: Block identification and retrieval. 

Research Study

Title: The genomic Profiling of Uterine Papillary Serous Carcinoma in AA
Principal Investigator: Larissa Lee, MD (BWH)
Description of the Project: Uterine serous carcinoma is an aggressive subtype of endometrial cancer that disproportionately affects African American women. Cooperative group studies have shown that African American women have a 26% higher mortality rate from advanced or recurrent endometrial cancer and lower response rates to chemotherapy, independent of performance status, disease stage, histology and chemotherapy regimen. Biological differences may underlie this significant racial disparity, and the goal of our project is to perform miRNA profiling and high-throughput sequencing in a case: control study of patients with uterine serous carcinoma to develop a better molecular understanding of this understudied disease and the associated survival disparities.
Contribution of Core: Block identification and retrieval.


Publication Acknowledgement:

If research supported by this core facility results in publication, please acknowledge this support by including the following in your publication(s):
"We thank Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center in Boston, MA, for the use of the Pathology Specimen Locator Core, which provided __________ service. Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center is supported in part by an NCI Cancer Center Support Grant # NIH 5 P30 CA06516."