Biobank Central to Windber Research Institute’s Cancer Work

The nationally renowned tissue repository continues to be the heart of the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine at Windber. Originally developed in conjunction with the Clinical Breast Care Project research initiative through Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, the tissue bank has been expanded to store, catalog, and ship an expanding array of frozen tissue and blood specimens.

Stella Somiari, Senior Director, tissue repository, Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine at Windber.

Last year, the center added almost two dozen new freezers to accommodate specimens from the Defense Department’s Center for Prostate Disease Research in Rockville, Maryland. There are now 18 liquid nitrogen vault freezers and 22 mechanical upright freezers, with room for growth in the research institute facility at 620 Seventh St. in Windber. They currently hold more than 400,000 samples, including 100,000 breast cancer specimens.

“It is supporting more programs and getting more samples,” Chief Scientific Officer Hai Hu said. “We are scaling up.”

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