Storing sarcoma to look for a cure

The Sarcoma Tissue Repository (STiR) is a tumor bank which is part of the University of Iowa Molecular Epidemiological Resource. STiR refers to over 260 sarcoma specimens which are housed in liquid nitrogen and available for rapid retrieval and study by biomedical researchers at the University of Iowa, as well as other institutions. Essentially all major sarcoma types are represented in this tumor bank.

While tissue stored within the STiR is frozen, archived tissue routinely examined during patient care is formalin fixed and paraffin embedded leading to fragmentation/degradation of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA).

STiR is thus an important resource since higher quality nucleic acids can be retrieved for downstream gene expression, gene sequencing, and epigenetic studies. These studies are central to the discovery of new diagnostic/prognostic markers and therapeutic approaches. Importantly, because STiR is part of the Molecular Epidemiological Resource, it is linked to de-identified clinical data, which allows us to correlate clinical behavior with novel biomarkers.

The success of this tumor bank is largely due to the much appreciated dedication and willingness of sarcoma patients to contribute to the bank. The tumor bank has allowed unparalleled access to sarcoma specimens, matched by very few other institutions. The STiR has had a substantial positive impact on sarcoma research at University of Iowa.

Specifically, having this resource available has allowed me and other sarcoma researchers at University of Iowa to pursue lines of research which would otherwise not be possible. We anticipate this research will significantly advance the care of sarcoma patients in the years to come.