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January Specimen Spotlight: Prospectively Collecting Ovarian Tumor Tissue for Longitudinal Study

January 2, 2018

Ovarian cancer tissue sample study

Although you can learn a lot from cancerous tissue, you can learn even more when you have patient data to put the biology in context.

That’s why one iSpecimen client, a U.S. cancer research and diagnostic company, recently ordered longitudinal patient information from iSpecimen to complement its request for ovarian cancer tissue specimens. The company needed fresh tissue samples from five different patients along with de-identified follow-up data about each patient. The data would be collected six times over the next two years, specifically

  • Three months,
  • Nine months,
  • Twelve months,
  • Eighteen months,
  • And twenty-four months after the tissue sample was provided.

Longitudinal data, particularly at scale, yields insights. It enables researchers, among other things, to map biological characteristics, such as genetic makeup, to outcomes.

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How it worked

In this instance, the tissue was prospectively collected. That means that iSpecimen arranged with hospitals to be ready to collect tissue when specific opportunities, i.e., surgeries, arose. Under iSpecimen’s guidance, clinicians would preserve a tissue sample, package it in our client’s proprietary kit, and urgently ship it to the client for delivery in under 24 hours. The rapid turnaround would ensure quality of the tissue.

iSpecimen handled all project logistics and executed the delivery of all samples within 60 days. That’s excellent performance given the complexity of the order, including the work of pre-arranging collection and the wait for surgeries to occur.  Prospective collection of fresh tissue entailed other logistical challenges as well, including kit preparation, scheduling, patient consent, weekend delivery considerations and compliance.

Although challenging to procure, fresh tissue and matched biofluids were advantageous in this case because the collection protocols were customized to meet the particular needs of the client for a longitudinal study.  Per the contract, iSpecimen will arrange for the delivery of de-identified patient data for each sample over the next two years.

Protecting patient privacy is paramount in this process. In fact, the packages were designed to prevent the client from learning which institution the samples came from, and to prevent clinicians from learning where the samples were going.

Ovarian cancer tissue is just one of the types of biospecimens, fresh and preserved, available through the iSpecimen Marketplace, an online platform that helps researchers obtain the tissue, biofluids and cells they need from the patients they want. Researchers can specify patient demographics, diagnoses, medications, procedure history, outcomes or specific test result ranges.

In this case, the client, pleased with the delivery, is preparing orders for more samples reflecting a wider variety of diagnoses. Again, they will be requesting prospective data, and capitalizing on the insights it will yield.


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