||Under the direction of Stella Somiari, Ph.D., the tissue bank at Windber Research Institute acquires and banks large numbers of high quality and well annotated normal and diseased tissue specimens. These specimens are obtained from fully informed and consented donors using Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved protocols and are accompanied by detailed clinical, family history and demographic information. The tissue bank has established Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for tissue acquisition, handling, processing, packaging and shipping. All collaborators at participating clinics/medical centers utilize these procedures to ensure that the integrity of the specimen is maintained.
Each specimen is identified by a unique sample ID that provides a link to the donor’s corresponding clinical information and this unique ID also serves as the link to a Clinical Laboratory Workflow System (CLWS) which tracks the clinical (patient enrollment and questionnaire completion), banking (specimen collection, processing and shipping) and research operations/activities.
Tissue types in our collection include plasma, serum, tissue embedded in optimum cutting temperature (OCT), formalin fixed paraffin embedded, and flash frozen. We also isolate and bank tissue derived products such as DNA, RNA and protein for research. Very stringent SOPs are in place for the process of extraction of these tissue-derived products and for quality control/quality assurance (QA/QC). The WRI tissue bank currently has 5 isothermal freezers each with the capacity to store 36,000 specimens.
For all specimens obtained from surgical procedures, routine histology is performed to obtain representative Hematoxylin and Eosin (H & E) stained sections for imaging/archiving. All H & E sections are imaged on the Trestle SL-50 imaging system and these images are available online to designated collaborative sites. A certified pathologist verifies all tissue specimens and WRI has telepathology capabilities, which can also be utilized for pathology verification when a second pathologist opinion is required to confirm specimen diagnosis. Other uses of the telepathology capabilities include the verification of Laser Capture Microdissection (LCM) sections (by pathologist) to ensure the correct areas are captured for research. The telepathology system at WRI is the Trestle Corporation’s Medmicro system, which permits the pathologist to remotely view, navigate and share images at sub-micron resolution over standard internet connections in real-time.
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