National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank Becomes Available To Researchers
Meso Foundation’s advocacy efforts, in concert with medical and academic institutions, make way for tissue bank to advance cure for asbestos cancer
The National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank (NMVB) is now operative, a result of scientific and advocacy efforts four years in the making. This first mesothelioma research resource of its kind provides meso tissue samples from a number of institutions, clinically annotated in a readily accessible database, to researchers in all mesothelioma investigations.
“This is a great accomplishment for those of us in the meso community,” explains Christopher Hahn, Executive Director of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation). “We have long advocated for federal research funding and the creation of a mesothelioma tissue bank. It is an important resource, expected to greatly advance the genetic and protein profiling of the meso cancer cell. This will further the development of mesothelioma treatments and the search for a cure. This is truly significant progress, and we are proud of the Meso Foundation’s contribution and initiative.”
The NMVB is a collaborative effort of multiple organizations. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in association with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), provided the initial $1 million grant for starting the tissue bank to Dr. Michael Becich at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The grant is an outcome of the Meso Foundation’s call for federal commitment to address the national tragedy of mesothelioma.. Other doctors and institutions responsible for creating the tissue bank, are Dr. Harvey Pass at New York University Medical Center, and Dr. Steven M. Albelda at University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, both of whom are members of the Meso Foundation.
The National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank is a bioinformatics system that combines assorted data from mesothelioma-related specimens into a single, annotated engine. Investigators can utilize the information contained in the database, and can also apply for use of NMVB tissue specimens. The goal of the tissue bank is to expedite the discovery of preventive measures, novel therapeutic interventions, and ultimately, cures for mesothelioma. The NMVB collection is particularly useful for evaluation of diagnostic and prognostic markers, since it includes mesothelioma tissue with associated clinical and outcome data. For more information on the National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank, please visit www.mesotissue.org
The online public database search fields include Stage of Disease; Treatment Received; Recurrence; Metastatic Disease; Histopathologic Type; Availability of Normal Tissue and Follow-up Time. NMVB has over 600 annotated cases and 900 biospecimens, including paraffin, fresh frozen, blood and DNA samples. Tissue Microarray (TMA) incorporates samples from 40 patients, and includes over 25 data elements, including age at diagnosis, race, tumor size, asbestoses exposure and vital status. Trained NMVB pathologists are available to assist in staining interpretation, scoring and basic statistical analysis of the TMA on a collaborative basis. In addition, consultation and planning for large-scale studies are also available.
The Meso Foundation is the not-for-profit collaboration of patients and families, physicians, advocates, and researchers, dedicated to eradicating the life-ending and vicious effects of mesothelioma. The Foundation provides patients and families with information on mesothelioma treatments, clinical trials and medical referrals through its full-time mesothelioma nurse practitioner and its website, www.curemeso.org. The Meso Foundation also hosts an annual symposium to educate patients and families on the latest advances in meso research and treatment. This year, the Symposium will be held in Washington, D.C. on June 26-28.