The goals of the project are described in a mission statement:
"Create an innovating virtual European human frozen tumor tissue bank for the whole scientific community composed of high quality frozen tumor tissue sample collections with a corresponding accurate diagnosis stored in major European cancer centers and universities. This bank will be searchable through an uncomplicated query system on the Internet and provided with rules for access and use of the tissues complete with a European code of conduct to comply with the various legal and ethical regulations in the different European countries"
The resulting platform not only improves tissue sample visibility and accessibility for cancer research, but also, allows the rapid accrual of tissue samples of defined subtypes, including uncommon types. Research using large numbers of samples has the potential to enable clinical and translational studies with sufficient statistical power. A further aim of the network is to enhance collaborations between European institutes, for example between the active tissue collecting groups and groups with access to cutting edge technology. This basic infrastructure has the potential to enormously speed up the advances in cancer research, from which future cancer patients can benefit and therefore, should be considered as a main interest of the entire tissue donor community.
This centralized collection of tumor tissues facilitates high throughput translational cancer research, which can be quickly initiated on a large number of tissues, so leading to more sophisticated, reliable and potentially faster methods to diagnose and/or treat cancer. In this way it can contribute as a solid basis for future cancer research for example in developing personalized medicine or identifying molecular targets.
Option 2 is possible with the further development of the TuBaFrost exchange platform in the FP6 EuroBoNeT project. OECI-TuBaFrost was taken as the basis for the EuroBoNeT (FP6 project on bone tumors) project where the type of samples supported was enlarged from only frozen to Formalin Fixed Paraffin Embedded (FFPE) pathology blocks, cell lines, xenografts, blood samples as whole blood, buffy coat, serum, etc as well as Tissue Micro Arrays. Even derivatives as DNA, RNA and protein isolates can be traced as well as prospective collections requested. This developed application format is currently brought back to OECI-TuBaFrost to enable the support of multiple projects in consortia as foreseen in future research platforms.
Keep custodianship over the samples
OECI-TuBaFrost is a virtual tumor tissue bank. The collected tissue samples remain stored at the collecting institute and under custodianship of the collecting institute. This means that the samples are not allocated to an organization that will decide to what requests and under what terms you should contribute your samples. These decisions remain the responsibility of the participating institute. As a consequence you can:
Access to the TuBaFrost collection is regulated on different levels, explained in the Access rules page of this website - (available in more detail in the deliverables and milestones of)WP 6.
To avoid inter-institutional variability or intrinsic bias in specimen quality TuBaFrost has developed Standard Operating Procedures and a Quality Assurance Policy to equalize sample quality. These Procedures must be implemented in institutes applying to become TuBaFrost collecting centres. Deliverables 3.1, 3.2, and Milestone 3.1, provide guidance and details of for this implementation.
These SOPs will be periodically reviewed to ensure that TuBaFrost SOPs reflect current developments in tissue bank practice and also the experience of collection, storage, retrieval and transport methods throughout the TuBaFrost network. The OECI-TuBaFrost consortium developed an infrastructure to enable the linking of tumor banks in a network with minimal impact on local tissue bank procedures. To avoid inter-institutional variability in specimen quality in multi-center studies TuBaFrost has developed Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to standardize sample quality. These SOP’s and Quality Assurance (QA) methods must be implemented in every collecting institute in order to become a collector. How to develop the SOP’s and QA for local use can be found in the project Deliverable 3.1, 3.2, and Milestone 3.1,
and OECI-TuBaFrost publications.To avoid unnecessary costs only those procedures that have a substantial impact on quality are made mandatory, other procedures are simply recommendations.
The TuBaFrost network also offers a legal basis for tissue exchange through provision of a code of conduct (MS 7.1)
and a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) that can easily be supplemented with conditions negotiated autonomously. This code of conduct allows the exchange of tissues across the borders of participating European countries,where ethics and law is highly variable (D 7.1).
The use of Virtual Microscopy implemented in the tissue bank to assist when tissue with a difficult diagnosis are selected for experimental purposes, so minimizing unnecessary transport of scientifically valuable samples.
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