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Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program

May 2023 EGRP Cancer Epidemiology News

EGRP Cancer Epidemiology News

Finding, Accessing, and Publicizing Biospecimens for Cancer Epidemiology Studies

The use of biospecimens is an integral part of many research studies. In a review of the National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS) grant portfolio, staff in DCCPS found that utilizing biospecimens already collected as part of existing epidemiology studies or cohorts can be an efficient way to conduct further research.

How can I find and access existing biospecimens for my cancer epidemiology study?

NCI’s Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program (EGRP) maintains a web page with information and links to biospecimen resources that may be of interest to cancer epidemiologists. Access to biospecimens is dependent on procedures outlined for each individual study or resource, and you are encouraged to reach out to the individual study/cohort. Here are two databases that are supported by NCI and have biospecimen resource information:

  • Specimen Resource Locator (SRL): This resource allows users to search by specimen type and cancer site/histology, and filter on “Specimen Annotations” to identify collections with the desired criteria.
  • Cancer Epidemiology Descriptive Cohort Database (CEDCD): This database allows users to search by “Biospecimen Count” and filter on the epidemiologic cohort, cancer site, and biospecimen type.

It is useful to look in both databases because they may contain different studies.

How can I publicize that biospecimens from my study are available to other researchers?

  • Any biospecimen resource/collection can be entered into the SRL; it does not need to be funded by NCI. Repository managers of domestic and publicly funded repositories that wish to make biospecimens more widely available to the cancer research community may submit an inquiry to add their repository to the SRL collections; the process is straightforward and does not require detailed information about the biospecimen collections.
  • If the biospecimen resource/collection is part of a cancer epidemiology cohort, the biospecimen information--including details regarding how to access the biospecimens--can be entered into the CEDCD. Even if your resource is in the CEDCD, it is also beneficial to list the resource in the SRL, because the databases tend to attract different audiences and also use different study and biospecimen search criteria.

Please contact Dr. Danielle Carrick ( with any biospecimen-related questions, Crystal Lane ( with CEDCD-related questions, and Joanne Demchok ( with SRL-related questions.

Funding Opportunities

  • PAR-23-152, Impacts of Climate Change Across the Cancer Control Continuum (R21, Clinical Trial Optional)
  • PAR-23-153, Impacts of Climate Change Across the Cancer Control Continuum (R01, Clinical Trial Optional)
  • PAR-23-155, Understanding Expectancies in Cancer Symptom Management (R01, Clinical Trial Required)
  • RFA-CA-23-023, Liver Cancer Collaborative Projects with the Liver Cirrhosis Network (U01, Clinical Trial Optional)
  • RFA-CA-23-029, Cancer Immunoprevention Network (CIP-Net) Research Projects (UG3/UH3, Clinical Trials Not Allowed)
  • RFA-CA-23-038, Integrating Health Disparities into Immuno-Oncology (HDIO) (P20, Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
  • RFA-CA-24-005, Cancer Prevention, Detection, Diagnosis, and Treatment Technologies for Global Health (U01, Clinical Trial Optional)
  • NOT-AG-23-008, Notice of Special Interest: Administrative Supplements for HIV/AIDS and Aging Research
  • NOT-CA-23-062, Notice of NCI's Participation in RFA-ES-23-007 "Exploratory Grants for Climate Change and Health Research Center Development (P20, Clinical Trial Optional)"
  • NOT-CA-23-067, Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for Translational Research Toward Development of a Kaposi Sarcoma Herpesvirus (KSHV) Vaccine (U01, Clinical Trial Optional)

Grants Policy Announcements

  • NOT-OD-23-109, Updates to Funding Opportunity Terminology
  • NOT-OD-23-111, Reminder: NIH Policies for NRSA Stipends, Compensation and Other Income
  • NOT-OD-23-113, Reminder: NIH Natural Disaster Policy Mississippi Severe Storms, Straight-line Winds, and Tornadoes

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