A new Los Angeles County Germ Cell Tumor and Tissue Bank Resource to be based at the Keck School of Medicine of USC has been established with the help of the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
Armstrong, arguably the world’s best-known cyclist, is a survivor of testicular cancer.
The GTTR will collect, store and distribute testicular cancer tissue specimens for use by the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center as well as the larger testicular cancer research community.
Having access to an extensive collection of testicular cancer tumor tissue specimens will enable researchers to better understand the molecular and cellular processes involved in the development of testicular cancer tumors and aid in patients’ diagnosis and treatment.
“Access to tumor tissue is essential to scientists investigating the cellular mechanisms involved in the development of testicular cancer,” said Sue Ellen Martin, principal investigator and associate professor of pathology in the Keck School.
“I anticipate that this bank will facilitate investigation of tumor markers valuable in the early detection, diagnosis and prognosis of testicular cancer,” Martin said.
The GTTR is designed to facilitate innovative research studies by both junior and senior investigators and to accommodate broader national testicular cancer research priorities as they develop.
To facilitate the investigation, a team of physicians and scientists led by Martin will invite newly diagnosed patients with testicular cancer at USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, LAC+USC Medical Center, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and Olive View-UCLA Medical Center to contribute snap-frozen tumor tissue specimens as well as formalin-fixed tumor tissues.
Testicular cancer patients undergoing surgery at all USC hospitals will be invited to also contribute blood and urine specimens to generate a fresh-frozen serum and urine bank.
The LAF is funding 20 research projects around the country this year, increasing its support by more than $1.3 million from last year’s research grants. The LAF funds research in two areas: cancer survivorship and the basic and clinical science of testicular cancer.
“The GTTR is the first time we have awarded this type of grant,” said Suzanne Kho, associate director of research for the LAF. “We are thrilled to be working with Dr. Martin and USC to make testicular cancer tumor samples widely available to researchers.”
A group of 40 researchers and diverse cancer experts reviewed 150 grant applications last September.
The GTTR is funded for three years with a grant of $330,000 and the potential for future increased funding.