A New Class of Immunotherapeutics: Using Oncolytic Viruses to Treat Cancer

Scientists have noted the ability of viruses to kill tumor cells for almost a century but have been unable to document the therapeutic use of these viruses in patients with cancer. Interest in this approach is growing, supported by advancing knowledge of viral biology, molecular genetics and tumor immunology. Oncolytic virus immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses viruses to replicate within cancer cells.

In this blog, we’ll briefly explore how viruses, specifically oncolytic viruses, are being used to treat cancer.

Topic: Biobanking and Biorepository, Topic: Cell T..........

Is “Controlling Pre-analytical Variability” an Elusive Target in Biobanking Urine Samples?

The wealth of information in urine samples makes this material critical for research, and for biobanking. The value of this humble waste product is evident from the fact that it is the third most-tested sample in diagnostic laboratories, after serum/plasma profiles and complete blood cell (CBC) counts. However, researchers collecting urine samples for storage and downstream analysis face the same issues as diagnostic laboratories—determining how reliable a test result can be, given the difficulty in controlling  pre-analytical variability.

Topic: Laboratory Processing, Topic: Clinical Tria..........

Two and a Half Degrees of Separation: Clinical Trial Finds Moderate Cooling Improves Transplant Results

This is not about a chain of six acquaintances that (in theory) connect all the inhabitants of the world, but rather how a very small reduction in temperature can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of an organ transplant. A recently published clinical trial1 found that establishing mild hypothermia in an organ donor resulted in a significant benefit to recipients of transplanted kidneys! So here is a question to consider: if 2.5°C has a significant effect on outcomes in living patients, what effect may it have on biospecimen-based research?

Topic: Biobanking and Biorepository, Topic: Clinic..........

Whole Blood Basics: How to maintain a stable sample

Like any other fluid or tissue sample, whole blood can be most effectively analyzed when its integrity is maintained throughout collection, processing and storage. But how do you maintain the quality of a whole blood sample when considering long term storage? What happens when a sample is not handled properly?

Topic: Biobanking and Biorepository, Topic: Labora..........

Extracting DNA and RNA from FFPE tissue blocks—Can we get there from here?

tissue_sectioningThere is a wide range of pre-analytical factors affecting the uniformity of formalin-fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) samples as potential sources of DNA and RNA.  Given these factors, we must ask ourselves, are FFPE samples reliable enough to advance progress toward precision medicine and the development of regenerative therapies?

FFPE tissue samples are widely available and offer, in addition to classic morphological study of tissues, the ability to harvest DNA, RNA and Proteins. Even more importantly, FFPE are accompanied by clinical data and their usefulness is further enhanced by still another factor—room temperature storage.

Topic: Biobanking and Biorepository, Content: Blog

[Video] The Journey of a Sample... in the Biobank Laboratory

So much depends on the subtle variations in biospecimens: these variations, when analyzed via genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and similar studies, are the foundation of both disease-based and drug-based biomarker discovery. And if the unique "-omics" of a sample is to yield results that lead to improvements in medical research and healthcare, such as understanding disease cause/progression (predictive/prognostic biomarker) to PK/PD in clinical trials (surrogate endpoints), then the entire integrity of the specimen must be protected, or biomarker research/study can go astray. 

Content: Video, Topic: Laboratory Processing