We’re committed to personalized medicine that improves our ability to diagnose and treat disease.

A personalized medical approach (also known as precision medicine) allows us to tailor diagnosis and treatment to individual needs. In 2017, Nuvance Health® established a biorepository to help us pursue that mission by collecting and analyzing human biological specimens for research and clinical trials.
Biobanking at Nuvance Health
The biorepository is critical to research programs at Rudy L. Ruggles Biomedical Research Institute and clinical trials that require access to patient specimens. The Nuvance Health biobank contains specimens from consenting patients such as:
  • Patient-derived tissue
  • Blood, plasma or serum
  • Cell lines

Specimens are accompanied by detailed data linked to personal, clinical and genomic information. The ability to generate and analyze this data from samples and cells preserved in their natural state aids our understanding, prevention, diagnosis, treatment of complex diseases. 

Nuvance Health’s biorepository has in place an IRB-approved, HIPAA complaint protocol for biobanking. We also have a lab-based framework to allow for the enrollment of patients and the collection, processing and storage of samples.

Evolving Needs
The biobank has evolved to accommodate our needs for advanced research in translational medicine. This medicine is geared towards molecular analysis of disease and targeted therapies to improve clinical outcomes.   We collect a range of cellular and tissue samples at various stages. These samples include:
  • Tissue that has been microdissected into cell subpopulations (tumor and surrounding benign tissue and lymph node sections)
  • Microenvironment biopsies
  • Benign tissue with associated germline tissue/peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC)
  • Plasma samples enriched for circulating tumor cells
  • Circulation DNA
  • Rare cells
  • Exosomes
  • Tumor DNA from cancer patients
New Discoveries

Biobanking benefits the research at Nuvance Health by potentially leading to:

  • New biomarkers for early diagnosis and prognosis of disease to help guide treatment
  • Discovery and in vivo and in vitro testing of novel drugs and treatments that are less toxic and target cancer cells while sparing healthy tissue
  • More effective personalized drugs based on an individual’s DNA and other information
  • New diagnostic techniques to identify people who are at risk or who are likely to benefit from certain treatments

Latest Technology

The biorepository currently stores a range of cancer samples, including:

  • Endometrial cancer samples
  • Ovarian cancer samples
  • Fallopian and ovarian cancer samples
  • Cervical cancer samples
  • Uterine cancer samples
  • Vulvar cancer samples
  • Benign samples
  • Pancreatic cancer samples

Its components are:

  • Three -86 degree Celsius freezers with a capacity of 28.8 cubic feet or 60,000 samples each
  • One -30 degree Celsius  freezer for storage of enzymes and analysis kits for biobank sample processing
  • Two CO2 normotoxic isotemp incubators
  • One -190 degree Celsius  liquid nitrogen sample storage Dewar
  • One Class II laminar flow hood for work involving BSL-1, 2, and 3 material
  • HIPAA-complaint laboratory information management system (LIMS) software for inventory and tracking the full lineage of specimens

The biobank’s incubators, freezers and refrigerator have backup generator power and a local on-site alarm. The equipment also has a robust, off-site 24/7 alarm system that monitors fluctuating temperatures. 

Other equipment includes tissue and cell dissociators, microscopes, PCR (real-time, digital and droplet digital) machines, centrifuges, spectrophotometers, gel-running apparatus and an imaging and analysis workstation for nuclear and protein analysis. 

The biobank employs a full-time research assistant who obtains, processes and manages the inventory of its biological samples.