Biospecimen and Pathology Core

The Biospecimen and Pathology Core provides investigators and collaborators in the Hepatobiliary SPORE with access to high-quality patient data, DNA, plasma, serum, and liver and biliary cancer tissue biospecimens and patient-derived xenografts from patients with hepatobiliary cancer who have given their consent.

The core builds on the International Hepatobiliary Neoplasia Biorepository coordinated by Hepatobiliary SPORE co-principal investigator Lewis R. Roberts, M.B., Ch.B., Ph.D.

The core collaborates with other hepatobiliary biorepositories. It also coordinates with the Fibrolamellar Hepatocellular Carcinoma Biorepository led by Hepatobiliary SPORE research project leader Sanford M. Simon, Ph.D., at Rockefeller University in New York.

The Biospecimen and Pathology Core coordinates with Mayo Clinic Cancer Center Shared Resources to provide sample accessioning and pathology support.

The core works with the Biospecimens Accessioning and Processing Core to process blood samples to genomic DNA and serum and plasma aliquots, and with the Pathology Research Core to provide histology and other tissue-based services, including paraffin and frozen sectioning, immunohistochemistry, tissue microarray construction, and digital imaging.

Other responsibilities of the Biospecimen and Pathology Core include:

  • Providing clinically annotated blood-derived specimens. These specimens include serum, platelet-poor plasma, germline blood-derived DNA and RNA PAX gene-collected specimens from both patients with hepatobiliary cancer and from appropriately matched control individuals. Clinical information, including patient demographics, tumor stage, treatments received, clinical outcomes, risk factor information, past medical history, dietary history, drug and toxin exposure, and family history are abstracted prospectively into a web-based Medidata Rave registry.
  • Providing clinically annotated frozen and formalin-fixed tissue specimens, histopathologic characterization, and histology-related laboratory-based services. This includes providing diagnostic pathology and tumor phenotypic characterization, interpreting immunohistochemistry staining, and evaluating liver and biliary cancer samples from immunodeficient and immunocompetent transgenic, knockout or syngeneic animal models.
  • Providing clinically annotated patient-derived xenografts, organoids, cell lines and other animal models. This includes the continued propagation and characterization of established patient-derived xenografts and cell lines and an ongoing effort to establish and characterize more patient-derived xenografts. The core also provides expertise in establishing Sleeping Beauty transposon-induced hepatobiliary cancer models to help with the discovery of mutations that accelerate tumorigenesis.

Core leaders

The directors of the Biospecimen and Pathology Core are: