The last several decades have witnessed remarkable advances in identifying the genetic causes of many childhood syndromes, both oncologic and non-oncologic. Subsequent team efforts by clinicians, patients, their families and advocates have supported clinical trials to evaluate new therapies for those affected. In the background and often unnoticed, there are parallel team efforts by pathologists and their staff to obtain and “bank” tissue samples from children with these diseases. It is hoped that by analyzing the original tissue from the affected individuals, additional insight will be gained into disease origin and treatment possibilities.
The Children’s Oncology Group (COG) represents the largest consortium in North America that is banking tissue from children with cancer. Working in collaboration with the NIH-funded Cooperative Human Tissue Network, the COG receives, evaluates, annotates, and stores human tissue samples submitted through IRB-approved protocols from allover the world. Investigators then apply in a regulated fashion for access to these tissues, using them to translate biology from the bench to the bedside. A recent example of the success of this program is the detection of RAS mutations in 14% of rhabdomyosarcoma samples using genomic analysis of submitted cases. This session will review the “nuts and bolts” of tissue banking in pediatric oncology, so that it is an approachable and practical topic for clinicians, researchers, patients, and their families.