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Last Updated: 10/12/16

Biospecimen Research Network


The IGC Biospecimen Logistics Manager, Diana Carbone, coordinates collection and distribution of tumor specimens for the TCGA project.

In early 2006, the OBBR initiated the Biospecimen Research Network (BRN) to systematically address the impact of specific variables in individual specimen types oresearchnetwork/default.aspn molecular data from given analysis platforms. The goal of the BRN is to address these issues by sponsoring, conducting, and collaborating on studies to assess the effects of human specimen pre-analytical variables on the outcome of genomic and proteomic studies conducted for clinical diagnosis and cancer research purposes. By communicating the results of such research to the scientific community, the BRN aims to significantly improve the quality of NCI-funded biospecimen-based research. The results of BRN research will support NCI discovery efforts and contribute to the development of evidence-based best practices for the collection, processing, storage, and analysis of biospecimens, building on the “NCI Best Practices for Biospecimen Resources.“

Based on this vision, the BRN has been designed to address the following challenges:

  • Bridging the gap between existing clinical practice for biospecimens and emerging technologies for personalized diagnostics and therapies
  • Defining the most significant variables for prospective collection of tissues, blood, and bodily fluids
  • Developing evidence-based biospecimen quality indicators for specific analytical platforms

The activities of the BRN program to date include the following:

  • A public outreach effort to define issues around human specimen research and identify the most pressing needs for human analyte standardization. Activities include an annual meeting, the BRN Symposium.
  • Provision of consultative services on biospecimen issues for programs within the NCI and NIH
  • A series of research projects underway at the BRN laboratory located at the Advanced Technology Center in Gaithersburg with intramural and extramural collaborators
  • Development of a searchable Web site of the existing biospecimen literature, the Biospecimen Research Database

Additional information about the Biospecimen Research Network can be found here:

Biospecimen Research Network