Tissue Procurement

Information about the Tissue Procurement Facility at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, including leadership, services offered and forms for researchers

Leadership

Hong Jin Kim, MD, Medical Director
J. Todd Auman, PhD, Facility Director
Leigh Thorne, MD, Faculty Pathologist
Mei Huang, PhD, Facility Manager

Services

Tissue Procurement from UNC Hospitals and Rex HealthCare

This includes general procurement and specific investigator-directed procurement of fresh, frozen tissue in OCT or RNALater, formalin-fixed paraffin embedded malignant and non-malignant tissue (including tumor tissue and adjacent or distant non-tumor tissue from the same surgery, when possible) from consenting adult patients.

Blood Procurement and Processing

Collection and preparation of blood components from peripheral human blood (plasma, serum, buffy coat, and packed red blood cells). Plasma, matched to malignant and normal tissues, is now routinely collected at UNCH as part of our general tissue procurement activity for proteomic applications. Buffy coat from blood is also collected for future genomic studies after the plasma is taken. In addition, hematology samples from peripheral blood and bone marrow are banked as cryopreserved cells and cell pellet. Cheek swabs are collected for furthur DNA isolation.

Quality Assurance/Histopathologic Review

Preparation of quality control sections from each specimen and evaluation by the facility Pathologist to ensure that appropriate and representative diagnostic tissue is procured. Confirmation of morphology of all tissues banked, prior to distribution to any researcher to ensure representative tissue is used in research.

Support of oncology clinical trials

Specimen collection, handling and processing of tissues, blood, other fluids in support of institutional and national clinical trials, coordinated in collaboration with the UNC LCCC Clinical Protocol Office and the PI of the protocol. This service includes banking and shipping to appropriate researchers, clinical trials groups.

Other biospecimen collection and banking

In addition to tissues and blood specimens, the facility collects, processes, banks and distributes other biospecimens, such as toenails, fat biopsies, urine, other fluids, largely in support of population-based studies. The facility maintains inventory and surveillance of these study-specific specimen collections.

Tissue Sectioning

For paraffin blocks that are processed by the facility for research, the facility provides tissue sectioning for thick and thing sections for multiple applications, (IHC, FISH, molecular assays, LCM, TMA’s). FFPE blocks from UNC surgical pathology will be handled by TPL (Translational Pathology Laboratory). Banked frozen tissue can be embedded with OCT and sectioned for frozen slides. HE staining from frozen slide can be done upon requests from the PI. 

Nucleic Acid isolation

DNA/RNA is isolated from snap frozen tissue, FFPE sections or cheek swabs upon requests from the PI. Samples are quantified by Nanodrop.

Database Management and Tissue Bank Searches

The facility manages the bank of tissue and blood for general use and also provides this as a service for individual projects with restricted-use specimen collections. Facility personnel perform searches to determine feasibility and logistical needs for investigators developing pilot studies, hypothesis generating, preliminary data collection, as well as methods development and optimization purposes.

Alternate Collection Sites

We are currently collecting at our newest site, Pitt Memorial Hospital. Read more about  our collections at East Carolina University

For More Information

Process to Obtain Specimens: Investigators should contact the facility manager, (919-966-2620) or the facility director, (919- 843-8477) to assess your request for services, including searching the database for specific specimens.

The investigator then fills out the electronic packet, “Request for Services”, a short application packet which includes a brief description of the study, documentation of UNC IRB approval, Services Form, lab policies and letter of research agreement (where the investigator and collaborators agree to abide by TPF lab policies) and account information for charges. Request for services packets are reviewed regularly by the TPF Advisory Committee. Prior to receiving samples all requested documents and letters must be on file at the TPF.

Prior to any directed procurement, the investigator will meet with the Tissue Procurement Coordinator to assess the needs of the investigator, including type and number of specimens required, conditions for procurement, transport, storage, and application.

All proposals submitted are reviewed at least monthly by the Medical Director, Laboratory Director, Facility Pathologist and Manager for appropriateness, completeness, and feasibility. Please contact Mei Huang for copies of the Tissue Procurement packets.