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Expansion of the Tissue Bank facilities

Improving access to research materials from CCTG trials
Expansion of the Tissue Bank facilities

The recently launched Centre for Health Innovation (CHI), a partnership with Queen’s University and Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC), aims to connect researchers from across multiple disciplines to tackle the most pressing human health challenges. A critical part of the centre will be a new home for the  CCTG Tumour Tissue Data Repository (TTDR) and includes a large-scale expansion of its histopathology and biobanking resources.

“We expect the shared resources and specialized facilities will allow innovation in precision medicine and digital health,” says Amber Simpson, director of CHI, Canada Research Chair in Biomedical Computing and Informatics and CCTG Senior Investigator. “A pivotal new connection spearheaded by CHI is building synergies between artificial intelligence and cancer research.”

The expansion of the TTDR will enhance the current capacity for several ongoing and new CCTG initiatives: Precision Medicine Platforms, Cellular Therapy, and Immunotherapy. CCTG’s infrastructure investment includes a larger centralized capacity for genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic studies that will leverage expertise among member sites.

"As well as the expansion of the facilities to the new space, the TTDR will be introducing advanced technologies to support new CCTG initiatives including the Vectra Polaris Quantitative Imaging system for multiplexed immunofluorescence and advanced image analysis,” says Shakeel Virk, Director of Operations, Queen’s Laboratory for Molecular Pathology and Manager, CCTG Tumour Tissue Data Repository (TTDR).

The addition of Real Time PCR platforms, QIA symphony, BioTek Synergy Microplate Readers, Vectra Polaris Quantitative Imaging System, and Indica Labs Halo Image Analysis Modules will enable the repository and laboratory to perform additional assays, more easily share data and allow researchers from across Canada access to research materials from CCTG trials for secondary analysis studies.

The funding to renovate and expand the biorepository was provided by CCTG through the ExCELLirate Canada grant with additional support from KHSC and Queen’s faculty partners including Health Sciences, Arts and Science, and Engineering.

The TTDR has been the central biobank and steward for tissue collected from over 120 CCTG clinical trials.

Disease specific tissue samples from patients accrued to CCTG studies are received and catalogued from institutions across Canada and the world, then linked to an associated clinical trials dataset. Access to this tissue permits the assessment of prognostic factors in determining the outcome of disease, the assessment of predictive factors to various chemotherapeutic agents and treatment regimens and facilitates the understanding of the basic biological and genetic mechanisms of cancer.