About Us

The Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center is an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center located in the heart of the Houston metropolitan area, which is comprised of a unique diverse demographic population. The DLDCCC recognizes the tremendous value of human biospecimen in a continuously learning healthcare system that aims to translate information gathered in clinical settings to enable and direct cancer research. By supporting biobanking efforts, the DLDCCC facilitates research on the causes of cancer, the identification of new treatments for cancer, and on factors that affect clinical outcomes and survival among patients with cancer.

The DLDCCC biospecimen bank currently encompasses over 400,000 individual specimens representing 370 unique disease diagnoses and over 160 unique disease sites representative of the racial and ethnic diversity of Harris County and the greater Houston area. These specimens are made available to cancer researchers within Baylor College of Medicine, the Texas Medical Center and throughout the world at a minimal to no cost basis at the recommendation of the Tissue Use Committee following an application documenting relevant research projects. We encourage interested researchers to submit an application for specimens using the link below, or to contact us for more information regarding the DLDCCC Biobank.

Core Services Offered

Biobanking collection efforts are integrated across various department and disease focus groups within the DLDCCC as evidenced by the list of participating investigators (see below). The DLDCCC supports two cores that provide collection services at our affiliate clinical sites: Human Tissue Acquisition and Pathology Shared Resource; and Population Sciences Biorepository. The two cores, which collect tissues and bio-fluids, respectively, coordinate closely with each other and work with individual investigators and with clinical centers to recruit subjects, and collect and process specimens for research purposes. Disease domain champions facilitate the annotation of specimens with relevant risk factor, clinical, pathological, and outcome/survival data. We're happy to assist with grant consultations reading specimens availability prior to submittal.

Human Tissue Acquisition and Pathology

The HTAP Shared Resource provides facilities for the following services:

  • Patient recruitment, consenting and collection of excess tissue from surgical samples
  • Sample preparation for assay (sectioning, scrolls, etc)
  • Sample shipping
  • Retrieval of paraffin blocks
  • Quality assessment (cellularity, etc)
  • Short-term and long-term biospecimen storage
  • General Histology services—tissue processing, sectioning and staining (human samples, animal models, and cell lines)
  • Immunohistochemistry & TUNEL
  • Laser Capture Microdissection
  • Imaging and Analysis of IHC stained slides
  • Tissue microarray development
  • Pathology Consultation

Population Sciences Biorepository

The PSB Shared Resource provides resources and facilities for the following services:

  • Patient recruitment, consenting and specimen collection (blood, swabs, other bodily fluids)
  • Disease or project focused questionnaire development and administration
  • Phlebotomy for research subjects
  • Sample processing and aliquoting
  • DNA/RNA purification and quantification (concentration, quality)
  • Whole genome amplification
  • Sample preparation for assay
  • Sample shipping
  • Short-term and long-term biospecimen storage

Collection Process Overview:

It is the intent of the DLDCCC bank to provide high quality, well-annotated biospecimens. Oversight of all biobanking activities within the center is provided by the Baylor internal review board who verify that all procedures and protocols follow the strictest medical ethics and regulatory guidelines. The collection process is initiated with informed patient consent after which residual specimens not required for patient care are carefully collected, cataloged and preserved.

Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance

Quality assessments of banked samples vary depending on the type of sample procured and how the sample is processed. For example, within the HTAP core, slides are generated and reviewed by a staff pathologist for confirmation of diagnostic data, and specimen cellularity. Molecular samples are tested for concentration and molecular integrity. These data are then attached to the specimen and provided to researchers upon request.

Participating Collaborative Investigators:

Participating investigators with disease focus:

  • Matthew Anderson, MD, Ph.D .- Gynecological Cancer
  • Hashem El-Serag, M.D., M.P.H. - Hepatocellular Carcinoma
  • Matthew Ellis, MB, BChir, BSc, Ph.D., FRCP - Breast Cancer; Metastatic Breast Cancers
  • William Fisher, M.D. - Pancreatic Cancer
  • Helen Hislop, M.D., DSc & Carl Allen, M.D. - Lymphoma
  • Seth Lerner, M.D. - Urologic Oncology
  • Akashi Patel, M.D. - Brain Cancer
  • Andrew Sikora, M.D., Ph.D. - Head and Neck Cancer
  • Bryan Burt, M.D., FACS - Lung Cancer

Request for Specimen:

Please have the following information available when applying for specimen:

  • IRB protocol number, issuing site, and expiration date for protocol covering specimen usage
  • Research project summary including rationale, assays to be performed and sample size (one page)
  • Disease site and diagnosis required
  • Required material type and specimen numbers (frozen tissue, FFPE tissue, blood, blood products, etc.)
  • Short list of desired clinical parameters for the study

Researchers Who Receive Specimen

Any publications that result from use of DLDCCC provided specimens must acknowledge the sources of the specimens (i.e. HTAP core and/or PSB) and must cite the cancer center support grant (P30CA125123), which underwrites both cores regardless of other sources of funding for the research.