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NCI to Provide $12M for Biobanks to Support Clinical Trials Network

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The National Cancer Institute will award up to $11.8 million next year to support the creation of new biospecimen banks that will collect, store, and distribute human samples from cancer patients and related data to participants in the National Clinical Trials Network.

NCI said on Friday it plans to provide up to five institutions with as much as $3.1 million per year to support creation of the NCTN Biospecimen Banking Resource, which will serve up to four adult NCTN groups and one pediatric group. The samples these banks will manage will be donated by cancer patients who are involved in NCI-funded Phase III and large Phase II clinical trials.

NCI created the NCTN system as part of an effort to consolidate the NCI-sponsored clinical trial system into a smaller number of groups that will have more capabilities than the previous system, called the NCI National Clinical Trials Cooperative Group Program.

The institute wants the biospecimen banks to store well-annotated, quality specimens that the NCTNs will use in their clinical trial research projects. The specimens also will be distributed to qualified investigators to develop and validate predictive, prognostic, and therapeutic response markers.

The NCTNs also will be able to accommodate additional tissue collections from other clinical trials, such as the NCI Experimental Therapeutics Trials Network, and will store legacy specimens that remain after the clinical trials are completed and make them accessible to qualified researchers.

The specimens the banks will store and distribute include tissue samples, blood, and many other types of biological fluids sent from NCTN group member hospitals and other affiliated institutions, and they will involve a range of solid and malignant tumor types. These banks also will need to have the capability to prepare relevant biomolecules, such as nucleic acids, from the specimens.

Each of the biobanks will be expected to implement a common informatics infrastructure to support biospecimen banking, data management, statistical and banking operations, and these local informatics systems will connect the bank with the Statistical and Data Centers of the NCTN groups.