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Pathology plays key role in tissue bank partnership

IndivumedIn photo: From left, Dr. David Linehan, chair of Surgery for the School of Medicine and Dentistry, Dr. Hartmut Juhl Founder and CEO of Indivumed, Dr. David Hicks, Dr. Bruce Smoller, and Andrew Deubler, deputy vice president for University Advancement.

About the partnership
 

The department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine is now the gatekeeper of a human tissue bank at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC).

URMC has signed a 3-year contract with German-based company, Indivumed, to allow patients to give access to having their tissues classified and used for cancer research worldwide.

The operation is fully funded by Indivumed, a startup founded by Dr. Harmut Juhl in 2002. The company will fully fund the biobank in exchange for half of the available samples.

How does it work?
 

Patients at Wilmot Cancer Center will have the option of giving consent to allow samples of their tissues - taken from biopsies and other procedures - catalogued and used for research. When consenting patients are in surgery, an employee will be stationed in the operating room to immediately take tissue to Surgical Pathology to be examined by a pathologist.

The process must be completed within moments of the extraction. When the tissue arrives, a pathologist must first examine a segment to determine a patient diagnosis. Once confirmed, the remaining tissue is divided into samples that are labeled and entered into a database. Some will be set aside for Indivumed's use.

Dr. David Zhou serves as director of the bank. Dr. David Hicks helped establish protocol for managing samples from the second they arrive to Surg-Path.

How will it be used?
 

URMC has not yet established protocol for deciding who gets access to the tissue first. Dr. Bruce Smoller, Pathology chair, said protocol will be determined by a group of URMC leaders.

"(Participating) will increase our profile in the research realm at URMC," said Smoller. "One of the goals is to build our research profile by accessing the available resources."

Bethany Bushen | 3/1/2016

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