The Rush University Biorepository Core, or RUBC, is a new resource within the research core system designed to provide key infrastructure to support the accrual of biospecimens from individuals being evaluated or treated for a specific condition at Rush or one of our clinical partner institutions. The strategic accrual of these resources will provide Rush investigators with subject cohorts necessary to support specific translational biomedical research studies, as well as an opportunity to play leadership roles in the innovation of novel preventative, diagnostic and therapeutic approaches that will serve as the foundation by which we can offer the latest in individualized therapy to our patients.
The RUBC is highly integrated with both the clinical trials office at Rush to support infrastructure for acquisition of informed patient consent and the Department of Pathology as an interface with the clinical specimen processing labs. Laboratory technicians and coordinators are responsible for guiding all patients through the process of enrollment and tracking their specimens through acquisition, processing, and long-term archiving. All specimens are catalogued in Freezerworks v8.1, which provides a platform for rapidly accessing biospecimens for use or transfer to external long-term archiving facilities, including a freezer farm with both -80°C freezers and cryogenic LN2 storage systems. Finally, the entire facility (including each individual component) are monitored 24/7 by our checkpoint system, which alerts laboratory personnel immediately in the event of malfunction in any component of the cryopreservation facility. Sufficient backup cryopreservation units are available to accommodate any catastrophic instrument failure that may jeopardize specimen integrity.
Investigators at Rush have been archiving biospecimens (surplus tumor/tissue from surgeries, serum, plasma, plasma buffy coat) to support its thoracic oncology research program since 2004. Standardized biobanking protocols consistent with recommendations provided in the NCI Best Practices for Biospecimen Resources (published by the Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research at the National Cancer Institute) have been employed from the beginning. The leadership of the Core regularly attends scientific meetings and seminars focused on biobanking sciences to ensure that the latest advances are integrated into its standard practices.
The Core leadership invites all groups at Rush and abroad interested in biobanking specimens for either current or planned research projects to come in for a no-cost preliminary consultation. In this meeting, we will identify the key components to form a new collection effort, including the types of biospecimens desired, optimal protocols for processing and archiving biospecimens based on anticipated analyses, the scope of collection, and relevant regulatory issues. A quote is developed from this meeting that will permit the collection effort to commence in a timely manner and will include any additional infrastructure that may be needed to support patient recruitment, biospecimen collection, annotation, processing, and long-term cryopreservation.
Investigators at Rush can also partner with the Core to access biospecimens already collected as part of our ongoing initiatives. We will provide guidance to help these investigators determine the suitability of existing collections of patient materials for their studies. Please contact us concerning this process and the anticipated cost structure for accessing the desired resource.