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Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program

Biospecimen Resources for Population Scientists

Best Practices and Expectations for Biospecimen Research

NCI Resources

NIH Resources

Other Non-Government Resources

Potential Sources of Biospecimens for Investigators

This list provides links to biospecimen resources that may be of interest to cancer epidemiologists, but is not exhaustive. Access to resources is dependent on procedures outlined for each individual study or resource. Availability may depend on suitability of proposed research, collaboration with study investigators, ethical considerations, approval from a steering committee, or availability of samples to perform study.

NCI Resources

  • Cancer Epidemiology Descriptive Cohort Database (CEDCD)
    The goal of this searchable database is to facilitate collaboration and highlight research opportunities within existing cohort studies. The CEDCD contains descriptive information about cohort studies following groups of people over time for cancer incidence, mortality, and other health outcomes. In addition to general study information, the CEDCD also includes biospecimen information for the studies.
  • NCI Specimen Resource Locator (SRL)
    The SRL is a biospecimen resource database designed to help researchers locate resources that may have the samples needed for their investigational use. This publicly searchable database includes information about biospecimen banks and sample procurement services. The specimens and samples come from non-commercial, either NCI or non-NCI-funded resources. Investigators can search the database and gain access to thousands of specimens of various tumor, organ, and preservation methods.
  • Funded DCCPS Projects Involving Biospecimens
    NCI DCCPS supports a variety of research involving biospecimens. To learn more about the types of biospecimens being collected and used for a variety of epidemiology research questions, view a list of DCCPS's active grants collecting the following biospecimens:
  • Clinical Proteomic Tumor Analysis Consortium
    The Clinical Proteomic Technologies for Cancer Initiative, launched in 2006, was developed to address the pre-analytical and analytical variability issues that are major barriers to the field of proteomics. NCI’s Specimen Resource Locator has hundreds of cancer samples previously collected by Clinical Proteomics Tumor Analysis Consortium (CPTAC) that are now available to the public.
  • NCI Cooperative Human Tissue NetworkExternal Web Site Policy (CHTN)
    The CHTN is a resource that provides human malignant, benign, diseased, and normal biospecimens to the scientific community for research purposes. The CHTN is a prospective human biospecimen procurement resource funded by the NCI since 1987. These samples are available in a variety of preservation methods including fresh, frozen, paraffin embedded blocks, or histological slides.
  • NCTN NavigatorExternal Web Site Policy
    The NCTN Navigator is a publicly searchable database of specimens from completed NCTN Phase 3 clinical trials.
  • NCI Resources for Researchers
    Resources for Researchers is a directory of NCI-supported tools and services for cancer researchers. Most resources are free of cost and available to anyone. Researchers can search for “Biospecimen” to find databases and tools that include biospecimens.

NIH Resources

  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
    • NICHD Data and Specimen Hub (DASH)
      A centralized resource that allows researchers to share and access de-identified data from studies funded by NICHD. DASH also serves as a portal for requesting biospecimens from selected DASH studies.
  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
  • National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)
    • Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) Network
      The primary goal of the eMERGE Network is to develop, disseminate, and apply approaches to research that combine biorepositories with electronic medical record (EMR) systems for genomic discovery and genomic medicine implementation research. To facilitate collaboration, external institutions may apply for affiliate membership.
  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
  • National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
    • Human Health Exposure Analysis Resource (HHEAR)External Web Site Policy
      HHEAR provides researchers access to high-quality, exposure-assessment services including, state of the art laboratory analysis of biological and environmental samples, statistical analysis, and expert consultation on exposure analysis, study design, and data analysis and interpretation.
    • EpiShare
      This is a web-based platform for sharing biospecimens and/or datasets with the research community. EpiShare provides a central location for researchers to see summaries of NIEHS Epidemiology Branch studies and specimen inventories, submit requests, and track all requestor correspondence.
  • National Institute of Aging (NIA)
    • NIA Virtual Repository
      This virtual repository provides investigators with an introduction to NIA's biogerontology studies and links to repositories that have human biospecimens available for sharing.
  • National Institutes of Health Common Fund Projects
  • Resources Developed by Multiple NIH Institutes and Centers
    • NeuroBioBank
      This is a national resource for investigators utilizing post-mortem brain tissue and related biospecimens for research to understand conditions of the nervous system.

Other Resources

  • International Repository LocatorExternal Web Site Policy (IRL)
    The IRL is an initiative by the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories to help investigators locate biospecimen and data repositories by developing a directory of repository information that can be searched online.

What NCI-Supported Databases Can Investigators Use to Advertise Biospecimen Resources?

  • If the biospecimen resource/collection is part of a cohort, the biospecimen repository information, including information on how researchers can access the biospecimens can be entered into the CEDCD.
  • Any biospecimen resource/collection can be entered into the NCI SRL.