A novel cross-disciplinary multi-institute approach to translational cancer research: Lessons learned from Pennsylvania Cancer Alliance Bioinformatics Consortium (PCABC)

Ashokkumar A. Patel, John R. Gilbertson, Louise C. Showe, Jack W. London, Eric Ross, Michael F. Ochs, Joseph Carver, Andrea Lazarus, Anil V. Parwani, Rajiv Dhir, J. Robert Beck, Michael Liebman, Fernando U. Garcia, Jeff Prichard, Myra Wilkerson, Ronald B. Herberman, Michael J. Becich, Nancy Whelan, Lois Mathews, Sharon WintersSusan Urda, Heidi Gianella, Michelle Bisceglia, Rajnish Gupta, Harpreet Singh, Songhui Li, Yimin Nie, Vicky Chu, Sambit Mohanty, Dorothy Mann, Linda Mignogna, Federico Monzon-Bordonaba, Alice Katsur, John Kirkwood, Adam Brufsky, Theresa Colecchia, Carolyn Green, John Glick, Jesse Tigges, David Fenstermacher, Timothy R. Rebbeck, Angela DeMichele, Barbara Weber, DuPont Guerry, Elizabeth Poppert, Kate Haney, Steve Brusstar, John Malick, Arlene Capriotti, Andrew Balshem, Robert G. Uzzo, Lori J. Goldstein, Stuart R. Lessin, Pat Harsche, W. Thomas London, Richard L. Davidson, Monica DeBaca, Alejandra Ruiz Orrico, Adler Hannes, Juan P. Palazzo, Adam Dicker, Michael Mastrangelo, Katherine Chou, Thomas Loughran, Pam Whayland, Pat Swetland, Philip Lazarus, Isom Harriet, Dan Beard, Alan J. Snyder, Witold B. Rybka, Daniel Lorence, Allan Lipton, Harold A. Harvey, Gavin Robertson, David Claxton, Richard Rauscher, Jenine Carlisle, Russel E. Kaufman, Donald Ewert, Elizabeth O'Brien, Meryle Melnicoff, Kenneth Blank, Tesfu Hailu, Sokol Petushi, Glenn D. Steele, Sandy Buckley, Nicole Hunter, Kim Yantus, Hai Hu, Chris Sheridan, Holly Rigby, F. Nicholas Jacobs, Pat Bronder, David Palmer, John H. Glick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: The Pennsylvania Cancer Alliance Bioinformatics Consortium (PCABC, http://www.pcabc.upmc.edu) is one of the first major project-based initiatives stemming from the Pennsylvania Cancer Alliance that was funded for four years by the Department of Health of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The objective of this was to initiate a prototype biorepository and bioinformatics infrastructure with a robust data warehouse by developing a statewide data model (1) for bioinformatics and a repository of serum and tissue samples; (2) a data model for biomarker data storage; and (3) a public access website for disseminating research results and bioinformatics tools. The members of the Consortium cooperate closely, exploring the opportunity for sharing clinical, genomic and other bioinformatics data on patient samples in oncology, for the purpose of developing collaborative research programs across cancer research institutions in Pennsylvania. The Consortium's intention was to establish a virtual repository of many clinical specimens residing in various centers across the state, in order to make them available for research. One of our primary goals was to facilitate the identification of cancerspecific biomarkers and encourage collaborative research efforts among the participating centers. Methods: The PCABC has developed unique partnerships so that every region of the state can effectively contribute and participate. It includes over 80 individuals from 14 organizations, and plans to expand to partners outside the State. This has created a network of researchers, clinicians, bioinformaticians, cancer registrars, program directors, and executives from academic and community health systems, as well as external corporate partners - all working together to accomplish a common mission. The various sub-committees have developed a common IRB protocol template, common data elements for standardizing data collections for three organ sites, intellectual property/tech transfer agreements, and material transfer agreements that have been approved by each of the member institutions. This was the foundational work that has led to the development of a centralized data warehouse that has met each of the institutions' IRB/HIPAA standards. Results: Currently, this "virtual biorepository" has over 58,000 annotated samples from 11,467 cancer patients available for research purposes. The clinical annotation of tissue samples is either done manually over the internet or semiautomated batch modes through mapping of local data elements with PCABC common data elements. The database currently holds information on 7188 cases (associated with 9278 specimens and 46,666 annotated blocks and blood samples) of prostate cancer, 2736 cases (associated with 3796 specimens and 9336 annotated blocks and blood samples) of breast cancer and 1543 cases (including 1334 specimens and 2671 annotated blocks and blood samples) of melanoma. These numbers continue to grow, and plans to integrate new tumor sites are in progress. Furthermore, the group has also developed a central web-based tool that allows investigators to share their translational (genomics/proteomics) experiment data on research evaluating potential biomarkers via a central location on the Consortium's web site. Conclusions: The technological achievements and the statewide informatics infrastructure that have been established by the Consortium will enable robust and efficient studies of biomarkers and their relevance to the clinical course of cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-274
Number of pages20
JournalCancer Informatics
Volume3
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

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Translational Medical Research
Computational Biology
Neoplasms
Transfer Agreement
Research
Biomarkers
Research Ethics Committees
Community Health Planning
Research Personnel
Intellectual Property
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
Informatics
Information Storage and Retrieval
Genomics
Internet
Proteomics
Melanoma
Prostatic Neoplasms
Organizations
Databases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

Cite this

Patel, A. A., Gilbertson, J. R., Showe, L. C., London, J. W., Ross, E., Ochs, M. F., ... Glick, J. H. (2007). A novel cross-disciplinary multi-institute approach to translational cancer research: Lessons learned from Pennsylvania Cancer Alliance Bioinformatics Consortium (PCABC). Cancer Informatics, 3, 255-274.

A novel cross-disciplinary multi-institute approach to translational cancer research : Lessons learned from Pennsylvania Cancer Alliance Bioinformatics Consortium (PCABC). / Patel, Ashokkumar A.; Gilbertson, John R.; Showe, Louise C.; London, Jack W.; Ross, Eric; Ochs, Michael F.; Carver, Joseph; Lazarus, Andrea; Parwani, Anil V.; Dhir, Rajiv; Beck, J. Robert; Liebman, Michael; Garcia, Fernando U.; Prichard, Jeff; Wilkerson, Myra; Herberman, Ronald B.; Becich, Michael J.; Whelan, Nancy; Mathews, Lois; Winters, Sharon; Urda, Susan; Gianella, Heidi; Bisceglia, Michelle; Gupta, Rajnish; Singh, Harpreet; Li, Songhui; Nie, Yimin; Chu, Vicky; Mohanty, Sambit; Mann, Dorothy; Mignogna, Linda; Monzon-Bordonaba, Federico; Katsur, Alice; Kirkwood, John; Brufsky, Adam; Colecchia, Theresa; Green, Carolyn; Glick, John; Tigges, Jesse; Fenstermacher, David; Rebbeck, Timothy R.; DeMichele, Angela; Weber, Barbara; Guerry, DuPont; Poppert, Elizabeth; Haney, Kate; Brusstar, Steve; Malick, John; Capriotti, Arlene; Balshem, Andrew; Uzzo, Robert G.; Goldstein, Lori J.; Lessin, Stuart R.; Harsche, Pat; London, W. Thomas; Davidson, Richard L.; DeBaca, Monica; Orrico, Alejandra Ruiz; Hannes, Adler; Palazzo, Juan P.; Dicker, Adam; Mastrangelo, Michael; Chou, Katherine; Loughran, Thomas; Whayland, Pam; Swetland, Pat; Lazarus, Philip; Harriet, Isom; Beard, Dan; Snyder, Alan J.; Rybka, Witold B.; Lorence, Daniel; Lipton, Allan; Harvey, Harold A.; Robertson, Gavin; Claxton, David; Rauscher, Richard; Carlisle, Jenine; Kaufman, Russel E.; Ewert, Donald; O'Brien, Elizabeth; Melnicoff, Meryle; Blank, Kenneth; Hailu, Tesfu; Petushi, Sokol; Steele, Glenn D.; Buckley, Sandy; Hunter, Nicole; Yantus, Kim; Hu, Hai; Sheridan, Chris; Rigby, Holly; Jacobs, F. Nicholas; Bronder, Pat; Palmer, David; Glick, John H.

In: Cancer Informatics, Vol. 3, 2007, p. 255-274.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Patel, AA, Gilbertson, JR, Showe, LC, London, JW, Ross, E, Ochs, MF, Carver, J, Lazarus, A, Parwani, AV, Dhir, R, Beck, JR, Liebman, M, Garcia, FU, Prichard, J, Wilkerson, M, Herberman, RB, Becich, MJ, Whelan, N, Mathews, L, Winters, S, Urda, S, Gianella, H, Bisceglia, M, Gupta, R, Singh, H, Li, S, Nie, Y, Chu, V, Mohanty, S, Mann, D, Mignogna, L, Monzon-Bordonaba, F, Katsur, A, Kirkwood, J, Brufsky, A, Colecchia, T, Green, C, Glick, J, Tigges, J, Fenstermacher, D, Rebbeck, TR, DeMichele, A, Weber, B, Guerry, D, Poppert, E, Haney, K, Brusstar, S, Malick, J, Capriotti, A, Balshem, A, Uzzo, RG, Goldstein, LJ, Lessin, SR, Harsche, P, London, WT, Davidson, RL, DeBaca, M, Orrico, AR, Hannes, A, Palazzo, JP, Dicker, A, Mastrangelo, M, Chou, K, Loughran, T, Whayland, P, Swetland, P, Lazarus, P, Harriet, I, Beard, D, Snyder, AJ, Rybka, WB, Lorence, D, Lipton, A, Harvey, HA, Robertson, G, Claxton, D, Rauscher, R, Carlisle, J, Kaufman, RE, Ewert, D, O'Brien, E, Melnicoff, M, Blank, K, Hailu, T, Petushi, S, Steele, GD, Buckley, S, Hunter, N, Yantus, K, Hu, H, Sheridan, C, Rigby, H, Jacobs, FN, Bronder, P, Palmer, D & Glick, JH 2007, 'A novel cross-disciplinary multi-institute approach to translational cancer research: Lessons learned from Pennsylvania Cancer Alliance Bioinformatics Consortium (PCABC)', Cancer Informatics, vol. 3, pp. 255-274.
Patel, Ashokkumar A. ; Gilbertson, John R. ; Showe, Louise C. ; London, Jack W. ; Ross, Eric ; Ochs, Michael F. ; Carver, Joseph ; Lazarus, Andrea ; Parwani, Anil V. ; Dhir, Rajiv ; Beck, J. Robert ; Liebman, Michael ; Garcia, Fernando U. ; Prichard, Jeff ; Wilkerson, Myra ; Herberman, Ronald B. ; Becich, Michael J. ; Whelan, Nancy ; Mathews, Lois ; Winters, Sharon ; Urda, Susan ; Gianella, Heidi ; Bisceglia, Michelle ; Gupta, Rajnish ; Singh, Harpreet ; Li, Songhui ; Nie, Yimin ; Chu, Vicky ; Mohanty, Sambit ; Mann, Dorothy ; Mignogna, Linda ; Monzon-Bordonaba, Federico ; Katsur, Alice ; Kirkwood, John ; Brufsky, Adam ; Colecchia, Theresa ; Green, Carolyn ; Glick, John ; Tigges, Jesse ; Fenstermacher, David ; Rebbeck, Timothy R. ; DeMichele, Angela ; Weber, Barbara ; Guerry, DuPont ; Poppert, Elizabeth ; Haney, Kate ; Brusstar, Steve ; Malick, John ; Capriotti, Arlene ; Balshem, Andrew ; Uzzo, Robert G. ; Goldstein, Lori J. ; Lessin, Stuart R. ; Harsche, Pat ; London, W. Thomas ; Davidson, Richard L. ; DeBaca, Monica ; Orrico, Alejandra Ruiz ; Hannes, Adler ; Palazzo, Juan P. ; Dicker, Adam ; Mastrangelo, Michael ; Chou, Katherine ; Loughran, Thomas ; Whayland, Pam ; Swetland, Pat ; Lazarus, Philip ; Harriet, Isom ; Beard, Dan ; Snyder, Alan J. ; Rybka, Witold B. ; Lorence, Daniel ; Lipton, Allan ; Harvey, Harold A. ; Robertson, Gavin ; Claxton, David ; Rauscher, Richard ; Carlisle, Jenine ; Kaufman, Russel E. ; Ewert, Donald ; O'Brien, Elizabeth ; Melnicoff, Meryle ; Blank, Kenneth ; Hailu, Tesfu ; Petushi, Sokol ; Steele, Glenn D. ; Buckley, Sandy ; Hunter, Nicole ; Yantus, Kim ; Hu, Hai ; Sheridan, Chris ; Rigby, Holly ; Jacobs, F. Nicholas ; Bronder, Pat ; Palmer, David ; Glick, John H. / A novel cross-disciplinary multi-institute approach to translational cancer research : Lessons learned from Pennsylvania Cancer Alliance Bioinformatics Consortium (PCABC). In: Cancer Informatics. 2007 ; Vol. 3. pp. 255-274.
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title = "A novel cross-disciplinary multi-institute approach to translational cancer research: Lessons learned from Pennsylvania Cancer Alliance Bioinformatics Consortium (PCABC)",
abstract = "Background: The Pennsylvania Cancer Alliance Bioinformatics Consortium (PCABC, http://www.pcabc.upmc.edu) is one of the first major project-based initiatives stemming from the Pennsylvania Cancer Alliance that was funded for four years by the Department of Health of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The objective of this was to initiate a prototype biorepository and bioinformatics infrastructure with a robust data warehouse by developing a statewide data model (1) for bioinformatics and a repository of serum and tissue samples; (2) a data model for biomarker data storage; and (3) a public access website for disseminating research results and bioinformatics tools. The members of the Consortium cooperate closely, exploring the opportunity for sharing clinical, genomic and other bioinformatics data on patient samples in oncology, for the purpose of developing collaborative research programs across cancer research institutions in Pennsylvania. The Consortium's intention was to establish a virtual repository of many clinical specimens residing in various centers across the state, in order to make them available for research. One of our primary goals was to facilitate the identification of cancerspecific biomarkers and encourage collaborative research efforts among the participating centers. Methods: The PCABC has developed unique partnerships so that every region of the state can effectively contribute and participate. It includes over 80 individuals from 14 organizations, and plans to expand to partners outside the State. This has created a network of researchers, clinicians, bioinformaticians, cancer registrars, program directors, and executives from academic and community health systems, as well as external corporate partners - all working together to accomplish a common mission. The various sub-committees have developed a common IRB protocol template, common data elements for standardizing data collections for three organ sites, intellectual property/tech transfer agreements, and material transfer agreements that have been approved by each of the member institutions. This was the foundational work that has led to the development of a centralized data warehouse that has met each of the institutions' IRB/HIPAA standards. Results: Currently, this {"}virtual biorepository{"} has over 58,000 annotated samples from 11,467 cancer patients available for research purposes. The clinical annotation of tissue samples is either done manually over the internet or semiautomated batch modes through mapping of local data elements with PCABC common data elements. The database currently holds information on 7188 cases (associated with 9278 specimens and 46,666 annotated blocks and blood samples) of prostate cancer, 2736 cases (associated with 3796 specimens and 9336 annotated blocks and blood samples) of breast cancer and 1543 cases (including 1334 specimens and 2671 annotated blocks and blood samples) of melanoma. These numbers continue to grow, and plans to integrate new tumor sites are in progress. Furthermore, the group has also developed a central web-based tool that allows investigators to share their translational (genomics/proteomics) experiment data on research evaluating potential biomarkers via a central location on the Consortium's web site. Conclusions: The technological achievements and the statewide informatics infrastructure that have been established by the Consortium will enable robust and efficient studies of biomarkers and their relevance to the clinical course of cancer.",
author = "Patel, {Ashokkumar A.} and Gilbertson, {John R.} and Showe, {Louise C.} and London, {Jack W.} and Eric Ross and Ochs, {Michael F.} and Joseph Carver and Andrea Lazarus and Parwani, {Anil V.} and Rajiv Dhir and Beck, {J. Robert} and Michael Liebman and Garcia, {Fernando U.} and Jeff Prichard and Myra Wilkerson and Herberman, {Ronald B.} and Becich, {Michael J.} and Nancy Whelan and Lois Mathews and Sharon Winters and Susan Urda and Heidi Gianella and Michelle Bisceglia and Rajnish Gupta and Harpreet Singh and Songhui Li and Yimin Nie and Vicky Chu and Sambit Mohanty and Dorothy Mann and Linda Mignogna and Federico Monzon-Bordonaba and Alice Katsur and John Kirkwood and Adam Brufsky and Theresa Colecchia and Carolyn Green and John Glick and Jesse Tigges and David Fenstermacher and Rebbeck, {Timothy R.} and Angela DeMichele and Barbara Weber and DuPont Guerry and Elizabeth Poppert and Kate Haney and Steve Brusstar and John Malick and Arlene Capriotti and Andrew Balshem and Uzzo, {Robert G.} and Goldstein, {Lori J.} and Lessin, {Stuart R.} and Pat Harsche and London, {W. Thomas} and Davidson, {Richard L.} and Monica DeBaca and Orrico, {Alejandra Ruiz} and Adler Hannes and Palazzo, {Juan P.} and Adam Dicker and Michael Mastrangelo and Katherine Chou and Thomas Loughran and Pam Whayland and Pat Swetland and Philip Lazarus and Isom Harriet and Dan Beard and Snyder, {Alan J.} and Rybka, {Witold B.} and Daniel Lorence and Allan Lipton and Harvey, {Harold A.} and Gavin Robertson and David Claxton and Richard Rauscher and Jenine Carlisle and Kaufman, {Russel E.} and Donald Ewert and Elizabeth O'Brien and Meryle Melnicoff and Kenneth Blank and Tesfu Hailu and Sokol Petushi and Steele, {Glenn D.} and Sandy Buckley and Nicole Hunter and Kim Yantus and Hai Hu and Chris Sheridan and Holly Rigby and Jacobs, {F. Nicholas} and Pat Bronder and David Palmer and Glick, {John H.}",
year = "2007",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "3",
pages = "255--274",
journal = "Cancer Informatics",
issn = "1176-9351",
publisher = "Libertas Academica Ltd.",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - A novel cross-disciplinary multi-institute approach to translational cancer research

T2 - Lessons learned from Pennsylvania Cancer Alliance Bioinformatics Consortium (PCABC)

AU - Patel, Ashokkumar A.

AU - Gilbertson, John R.

AU - Showe, Louise C.

AU - London, Jack W.

AU - Ross, Eric

AU - Ochs, Michael F.

AU - Carver, Joseph

AU - Lazarus, Andrea

AU - Parwani, Anil V.

AU - Dhir, Rajiv

AU - Beck, J. Robert

AU - Liebman, Michael

AU - Garcia, Fernando U.

AU - Prichard, Jeff

AU - Wilkerson, Myra

AU - Herberman, Ronald B.

AU - Becich, Michael J.

AU - Whelan, Nancy

AU - Mathews, Lois

AU - Winters, Sharon

AU - Urda, Susan

AU - Gianella, Heidi

AU - Bisceglia, Michelle

AU - Gupta, Rajnish

AU - Singh, Harpreet

AU - Li, Songhui

AU - Nie, Yimin

AU - Chu, Vicky

AU - Mohanty, Sambit

AU - Mann, Dorothy

AU - Mignogna, Linda

AU - Monzon-Bordonaba, Federico

AU - Katsur, Alice

AU - Kirkwood, John

AU - Brufsky, Adam

AU - Colecchia, Theresa

AU - Green, Carolyn

AU - Glick, John

AU - Tigges, Jesse

AU - Fenstermacher, David

AU - Rebbeck, Timothy R.

AU - DeMichele, Angela

AU - Weber, Barbara

AU - Guerry, DuPont

AU - Poppert, Elizabeth

AU - Haney, Kate

AU - Brusstar, Steve

AU - Malick, John

AU - Capriotti, Arlene

AU - Balshem, Andrew

AU - Uzzo, Robert G.

AU - Goldstein, Lori J.

AU - Lessin, Stuart R.

AU - Harsche, Pat

AU - London, W. Thomas

AU - Davidson, Richard L.

AU - DeBaca, Monica

AU - Orrico, Alejandra Ruiz

AU - Hannes, Adler

AU - Palazzo, Juan P.

AU - Dicker, Adam

AU - Mastrangelo, Michael

AU - Chou, Katherine

AU - Loughran, Thomas

AU - Whayland, Pam

AU - Swetland, Pat

AU - Lazarus, Philip

AU - Harriet, Isom

AU - Beard, Dan

AU - Snyder, Alan J.

AU - Rybka, Witold B.

AU - Lorence, Daniel

AU - Lipton, Allan

AU - Harvey, Harold A.

AU - Robertson, Gavin

AU - Claxton, David

AU - Rauscher, Richard

AU - Carlisle, Jenine

AU - Kaufman, Russel E.

AU - Ewert, Donald

AU - O'Brien, Elizabeth

AU - Melnicoff, Meryle

AU - Blank, Kenneth

AU - Hailu, Tesfu

AU - Petushi, Sokol

AU - Steele, Glenn D.

AU - Buckley, Sandy

AU - Hunter, Nicole

AU - Yantus, Kim

AU - Hu, Hai

AU - Sheridan, Chris

AU - Rigby, Holly

AU - Jacobs, F. Nicholas

AU - Bronder, Pat

AU - Palmer, David

AU - Glick, John H.

PY - 2007

Y1 - 2007

N2 - Background: The Pennsylvania Cancer Alliance Bioinformatics Consortium (PCABC, http://www.pcabc.upmc.edu) is one of the first major project-based initiatives stemming from the Pennsylvania Cancer Alliance that was funded for four years by the Department of Health of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The objective of this was to initiate a prototype biorepository and bioinformatics infrastructure with a robust data warehouse by developing a statewide data model (1) for bioinformatics and a repository of serum and tissue samples; (2) a data model for biomarker data storage; and (3) a public access website for disseminating research results and bioinformatics tools. The members of the Consortium cooperate closely, exploring the opportunity for sharing clinical, genomic and other bioinformatics data on patient samples in oncology, for the purpose of developing collaborative research programs across cancer research institutions in Pennsylvania. The Consortium's intention was to establish a virtual repository of many clinical specimens residing in various centers across the state, in order to make them available for research. One of our primary goals was to facilitate the identification of cancerspecific biomarkers and encourage collaborative research efforts among the participating centers. Methods: The PCABC has developed unique partnerships so that every region of the state can effectively contribute and participate. It includes over 80 individuals from 14 organizations, and plans to expand to partners outside the State. This has created a network of researchers, clinicians, bioinformaticians, cancer registrars, program directors, and executives from academic and community health systems, as well as external corporate partners - all working together to accomplish a common mission. The various sub-committees have developed a common IRB protocol template, common data elements for standardizing data collections for three organ sites, intellectual property/tech transfer agreements, and material transfer agreements that have been approved by each of the member institutions. This was the foundational work that has led to the development of a centralized data warehouse that has met each of the institutions' IRB/HIPAA standards. Results: Currently, this "virtual biorepository" has over 58,000 annotated samples from 11,467 cancer patients available for research purposes. The clinical annotation of tissue samples is either done manually over the internet or semiautomated batch modes through mapping of local data elements with PCABC common data elements. The database currently holds information on 7188 cases (associated with 9278 specimens and 46,666 annotated blocks and blood samples) of prostate cancer, 2736 cases (associated with 3796 specimens and 9336 annotated blocks and blood samples) of breast cancer and 1543 cases (including 1334 specimens and 2671 annotated blocks and blood samples) of melanoma. These numbers continue to grow, and plans to integrate new tumor sites are in progress. Furthermore, the group has also developed a central web-based tool that allows investigators to share their translational (genomics/proteomics) experiment data on research evaluating potential biomarkers via a central location on the Consortium's web site. Conclusions: The technological achievements and the statewide informatics infrastructure that have been established by the Consortium will enable robust and efficient studies of biomarkers and their relevance to the clinical course of cancer.

AB - Background: The Pennsylvania Cancer Alliance Bioinformatics Consortium (PCABC, http://www.pcabc.upmc.edu) is one of the first major project-based initiatives stemming from the Pennsylvania Cancer Alliance that was funded for four years by the Department of Health of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The objective of this was to initiate a prototype biorepository and bioinformatics infrastructure with a robust data warehouse by developing a statewide data model (1) for bioinformatics and a repository of serum and tissue samples; (2) a data model for biomarker data storage; and (3) a public access website for disseminating research results and bioinformatics tools. The members of the Consortium cooperate closely, exploring the opportunity for sharing clinical, genomic and other bioinformatics data on patient samples in oncology, for the purpose of developing collaborative research programs across cancer research institutions in Pennsylvania. The Consortium's intention was to establish a virtual repository of many clinical specimens residing in various centers across the state, in order to make them available for research. One of our primary goals was to facilitate the identification of cancerspecific biomarkers and encourage collaborative research efforts among the participating centers. Methods: The PCABC has developed unique partnerships so that every region of the state can effectively contribute and participate. It includes over 80 individuals from 14 organizations, and plans to expand to partners outside the State. This has created a network of researchers, clinicians, bioinformaticians, cancer registrars, program directors, and executives from academic and community health systems, as well as external corporate partners - all working together to accomplish a common mission. The various sub-committees have developed a common IRB protocol template, common data elements for standardizing data collections for three organ sites, intellectual property/tech transfer agreements, and material transfer agreements that have been approved by each of the member institutions. This was the foundational work that has led to the development of a centralized data warehouse that has met each of the institutions' IRB/HIPAA standards. Results: Currently, this "virtual biorepository" has over 58,000 annotated samples from 11,467 cancer patients available for research purposes. The clinical annotation of tissue samples is either done manually over the internet or semiautomated batch modes through mapping of local data elements with PCABC common data elements. The database currently holds information on 7188 cases (associated with 9278 specimens and 46,666 annotated blocks and blood samples) of prostate cancer, 2736 cases (associated with 3796 specimens and 9336 annotated blocks and blood samples) of breast cancer and 1543 cases (including 1334 specimens and 2671 annotated blocks and blood samples) of melanoma. These numbers continue to grow, and plans to integrate new tumor sites are in progress. Furthermore, the group has also developed a central web-based tool that allows investigators to share their translational (genomics/proteomics) experiment data on research evaluating potential biomarkers via a central location on the Consortium's web site. Conclusions: The technological achievements and the statewide informatics infrastructure that have been established by the Consortium will enable robust and efficient studies of biomarkers and their relevance to the clinical course of cancer.

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