Posted April 28, 2017
The Lung Cancer Biospecimen Resource Network (LCBRN) is a group of academic medical centers (Medical University of South Carolina, University of Virginia and Washington University in St. Louis) supported by the Lung Cancer Research Program (LCRP) that partners with patients and researchers to study this deadly disease. Since 2011, the network has recruited 763 subjects – patients who have donated samples of lung cancer tissue and various biofluids to be banked by LCBRN and made available to cancer researchers (http://lungbio.sites.virginia.edu/). These samples are particularly valuable because the LCBRN donors, in addition to providing the specimens, have also agreed to make their medical records accessible, so researchers have linked information about response to therapy and other clinical outcomes to each of the samples. This link between patient data and samples allows researchers to observe associations between molecular signatures present in the specimens and specific clinical or other biological parameters of the lung cancer cases.
The LCBRN has been selected to participate in the Cancer Moonshot Program, initiated by the Obama administration and organized by the Office of Vice President Joe Biden. The Cancer Moonshot Program received strong bi-partisan support from Congress, with 10 years of funding provided in the $6.3 billion 21st Century Cures bill, which passed the Senate in a 95-4 vote in December of 2016.
A major component of the Moonshot Program is the Applied Proteogenomics OrganizationaL Learning and Outcomes (APOLLO) Consortium, which will use state-of-the-art research methods in large-scale DNA, RNA, and protein analysis to more rapidly identify unique targets and pathways of cancer for detection and intervention. The APOLLO Consortium is a tri-agency coalition of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Department of Defense (DoD), and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Because the LCBRN has the necessary tissue samples banked and ready for use, it will support the first project, APOLLO 1. LCBRN will supply cancer tissue samples from 100 patients: 50 with no evidence of recurrence after treatment and 50 with recurrence after treatment. APOLLO 1 aims to determine whether specific gene mutations or specific gene expression signatures are associated with disease recurrence and to further test these molecular changes as prognostic markers that can be used in clinical decision-making (e.g., whether to use more aggressive chemotherapy regimens following complete surgical resection of early stage lung cancer). A long-term goal of the APOLLO1 program is to ultimately perform such analyses on 8,000 lung cancer patients by expanding subject recruitment to DoD and VA hospitals. With pursuit of that recruitment goal in mind, the LCBRN consortium is currently in discussion with APOLLO leadership to provide additional specimens beyond the initial 100 cases.
Examples of biospecimen sample packets collected, stored and distributed by the LCBRN.