.

Cooperative Human Tissue Network - Western Division at Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Procurement FAQ

Are ER/PR/Her2 results available for breast cancer donors the day of surgery? 

What types of lung malignancies are surgically resected/available?

Are donor therapies (chemotherapy/radiation/hormone) available?

What types of tissues can be obtained from a malignant donor?

Which media preparations are available for fresh shipments?

Do you test your tissues/fluids for infectious diseases?

What kind of tissues are procured/available?

How quickly can I obtain specimens?

How are specimens frozen, stored, and maintained?

I want to add/change my tissue request(s).

Do I have to accept specimens procured for a request I have recently placed On Hold?

Can a limit be placed on the number of tissues procured for a project/request?

What if the request is difficult to serve?


Are ER/PR/Her2 results available for breast cancer donors the day of surgery? 

Yes, typically these tests have been performed prior to surgical resection using biopsy tissues on about 80% of cases.  If they have not been performed prior to surgery, they will be included on the final pathology report on each donor.


What types of lung malignancies are surgically resected/available?

Most non-small cell carcinomas are resected (adenocarcinomas, squamous cell carcinoma, etc) and these tissues are available regularly.  Small cell carcinomas are less likely to be resected due to standard of care, making this request difficult to serve.


Are donor therapies (chemotherapy/radiation/hormone) available?

Generally chemotherapy and radiation information is available in the patient's medical record and is included in the final pathology report for each donor/resection.  Occasionally donors are referred to our facility and their medical record may not be updated at the time of surgery, so their therapy status may be listed as unknown.  Additional information (height/weight/parity, etc) can be obtained but will incur a chart review charge per donor.


What types of tissues can be obtained from a malignant donor?

Typically tumor tissues are available along with appropriate normal adjacent tissues (NAT), depending on tumor size and location.  Uninvolved tissues, which are grossly and histologically normal, are also available based on the tumor type and size.  Many donors have matching fluids (whole blood, serum, plasma, urine) that can be requested with the tissue segments.


Which media preparations are available for fresh shipments?

CHTN-Western uses RPMI and saline solutions for most shipments.  If you require another transport media (DMEM or your own media) your institution should provide those for us to use only for your fresh shipments. 


Do you test your tissues/fluids for infectious diseases?

CHTN-Western does not knowingly collect from infectious donors.  The medical record is scanned thoroughly for any indication of infectious disease status, and, if found, these donors are not approached or collected.  Additional tests for infectious diseases are not performed as explained in the Human Use Agreement, which investigator are required to sign and submit with the completed application.


What kind of tissues are procured/available?

We collect tumor and disease related tissues and appropriate matching uninvolved normal tissues when available.  Tissues from normal, otherwise healthy donors from elective surgeries or autopsy procedures are available as well and include most anatomical sites. 


How quickly can I obtain specimens?

The CHTN is a request-dependent, prospective procurement operation.   The CHTN does not operate as a bank, but there may be samples readily available that meet your research criteria. There are several divisions that have access to specimens, either through a shared resource or archived specimens which requests can be served from.   Fresh shipments are prospective in nature and are based on donor availability.  Some requests (primary melanoma, small cell carcinoma of the lung) are rare and considered difficult to serve and you will be informed upon receipt of your application.


How are specimens frozen, stored, and maintained?

Because CHTN is a prospective procurement facility/operation, we are able to procure, as your research protocol requires.  Most investigators require snap-frozen in liquid nitrogen and then stored in -80 freezers or liquid nitrogen freezers/dewars until they are shipped. 


I want to add/change my tissue request(s).

Please see the Investigator Submittal Form tab on our CHTN-Western webpage https://www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/root/vumc.php?site=chtn%20western%20division&doc=37899  and click the hyperlink to update your current requests or submit new requests.  An email will be generated and the appropriate personnel will contact you to verify the requests.


Do I have to accept specimens procured for a request I have recently placed On Hold?

Yes, CHTN procurement personnel collect tissues based on your request parameters and these must be accepted up until the date you place your request On Hold.  For more information, see CHTN Tissue Refusal policy.


Can a limit be placed on the number of tissues procured for a project/request?

Yes, we procure tissues based on the number of samples you would like to receive based on your application.  For example, if you only require a small number of segments for a project, one division will be able to serve this request if samples are readily available.  If you are asking for as many tissues as possible frequently (usually with fresh requests), these will likely be networked to all divisions to increase the number of donors you will receive weekly.


What if the request is difficult to serve?

If the tissue type or malignancy is rare, you will be notified upon application to the CHTN.  Some divisions have access to certain tissue types and malignancies that others may not, thus increasing your chances of receiving samples.