Thursday, July 31, 2014

Challenges in Setting Up a Breast Cancer Oriented Biorepository in Latin America Fully Integrated with an US-based Academic Institution

Translational cancer research is largely made possible through access to large patient clinical databases and high-quality biological samples collected, processed and annotated in a systematic fashion according to international standards.

We thus set out to jointly to establish an Argentinean breast cancer oriented biobank between Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) Cancer Center and the Breast Center in Buenos Aires (BCBA) as a fully integrated and shareable data management system with regards to bio-specimen (blood, non-tumoral breast tissue, breast cancer tissue), pathological, epidemiological and clinical data sets. Of particular interest to us was investigating new breast cancer screening biomarkers and the ability to carry out breast cancer population-science epidemiological studies.

Since variability in bio-specimen collection and processing, as well as in the recording of associated data, are known to potentially affect analytical results, particular attention was paid to the standardization of all such processes in accordance with ISBER’s Best Practice Guidelines for Biorepositories.

Consented individuals at the BCBA were allocated by the treating physician to one of four categories: 
  1. 1. Breast cancer
  2. 2. Benign breast disease by biopsy
  3. 3. High breast cancer risk according to the Gail Model 
  4. 4. Healthy controls. 
In breast cancer patients, blood was collected at several stages during their clinical course (pre-surgical, pre-systemic treatment, and, if applicable, in the metastatic stage).  Blood and tissue specimens as well as clinical data from patients with benign lesions and healthy controls (mammoplasty) were also collected and incorporated into the system. All subjects were followed-up at yearly intervals.

We also set out to develop a bilingual (English and Spanish) web-based tool for bio-specimen management, inventory and clinical data registries in full compliance with international standards for data security and quality assurance.

We believe this constitutes a unique approach to breast cancer biobanking including the availability of healthy control and non-cancerous breast tissue subject’s bio-specimen and datasets which can be made seamlessly accessible among two or more institutions.
Biorepository Latin America Setting Up Breast Cancer

At this year’s Biorepositories and Sample Management conference, I’ll be presenting on the cultural and regulatory aspects on setting up a biobank in Latin America, expanding from USA/Argentina to Mexico and Brazil as a breast center’s biobank networking.

Hear more from Astrid as this year’s Biorepositories and Sample Management conference.  Download the agenda to see what’s on tap. Save $100 when you register here and use code XP1998BLOG.

About The Author: Astrid Margossian, MD, PhD, is a breast cancer surgeon focused on biobanking. She is the Scientific and Executive Director of the Argentinean Breast Center Buenos Aires Biobank, a branch of the Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) Cancer Center Biorepository, where she holds a position since 2008 engaged in tumor banking and tumor bank management efforts at the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center, Houston Texas. She also has contributed to the establishment of the Population Sciences Biorepository at BCM’s Dan Duncan Cancer Center.

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1: Biopreserv Biobank. 2014 Apr;12(2):148-50. doi: 10.1089/bio.2013.0091.National Cancer Institute Biospecimen Evidence-Based Practices: a novel approach to pre-analytical standardization.Engel KB1, Vaught JMoore HM. 

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