Penn State Cancer Institute Biorepository


Consultant: J. Stanley Smith, M.D.
Phone: 717-531-8815

Coordinator: Molly Pells
Phone: 717-531-5794

The Penn State Health Biorepository was established in 2004, offers investigators within the Cancer Institute and its affiliates a resource to enhance research into cancer and other disease processes. All Penn State University researchers can request tissue from the Biorepository with an approved Institutional Review Board protocol. Tissue, associated blood, buccal cell swabs, and epidemiological data are made available free of charge. Informed consent from donors is obtained through the Penn State Health Biorepository, thereby freeing investigators from that process.  The PSH Biorepository collects a wide variety of tumor tissue as well as adjacent normal tissue from surgical resections done at Penn State Health. Additionally, select normal control tissue is available.  The PSH Biorepository is a member in good standing with the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories(ISBER).

Expedited review is now in place and one could obtain tissue within two weeks time after applying, if your study involves retrospective data mining, pathology correlative or ancillary studies.  If your study is prospective involving humans, human tissue, epidemiology, Quality of life, survivorship, genetics, etc than a full Scientific Review will be necessary.

Patients are presented with a consent form which asks them to donate tissue, blood, and buccal cells. Tissue samples are collected fresh, typically within 25 minutes of surgical resection and classified grossly by the Pathology Department. The samples are then frozen in cryovials and stored at -80°C.  Blood is collected in K2EDTA (purple top) Vacutainers™, placed on ice until centrifuged, and its components (plasma and buffy coat) are stored at -80°C.  Each tissue dispensed is accompanied by a final pathological diagnosis, the donor's age, and gender. A pathology report and tumor registry data may also be available.  Upon special request and review, a bio-statistician is available to compile donor questionnaires into epidemiological data for statistical study.

As of June 05, 2013  the PSH Biorepository has released 5270 samples to 66 researchers for 96 research projects here at Penn State Health and University Park Campus.  Several publications have resulted from these research projects. (See Publications section below.)   Requests for biological specimens or questionnaire data should follow the Instructions for Tissue Requests.  If requesting fresh frozen tissue or other information please fill in the Biorepository Tissue Request Form  and send it to Dan Beard HO72 or  fax it to 717-531-0704.

Please keep in mind that any tissue released is generally all the tissue that we have for that patient.  So use that tissue sparingly.

The Penn State Health Biorepository is committed to maintaining the highest standards in the services we offer while preserving our donors' information in the strictest confidence.

  • No Patient identifiers will be supplied. 
  • Only de identified information will be released.
  • Age , Sex , and Diagnosis will be released for all tissue. The only additional information about the tissue will come from the tumor registry and or the tissue bank at their discretion.  Under no circumstances will an exhaustive and extensive search of a patient chart  be performed.  If your study will need  extensive information released please obtain your tissue from somewhere other than the Cancer Institute Biorepository.
  • A copy of the protocol, including research methods, must be supplied with the Biorepository Tissue Request Form.
  • Requests will be reviewed by the Scientific Review Committee (SRC) of the Cancer Institute.
  • The SRC will request any preliminary data, which confirms that research methods have been successful in pilot studies.
  • We ask that investigators acknowledge the Penn State Hershey Biorepository in all publications resulting from the use of those tissues.


The following list of selected publications and abstracts are from research projects that utilized tissue from the Penn State Health Biorepository:

  1. Jill P. Smith, John F. Harms, Gail L. Matters, Christopher O. McGovern, Francesca M. Ruggiero, Jiangang Liao, Kristin K. Find, Emily E. Ortega, Evan L. Gilios, and John A. Phillips, III.  A single nucleotide polymorphism of the cholecystokinin-B receptor predicts risk for pancreatic cancer.  Cancer Biology & Therapy 13:3,164-174;Feb 1,2012 (
  2. Qi J, Rice SJ, Salzberg AC, Runkle EA, Liao J, Zander DS, Mu D.  MiR-365 regulates lung cancer and developmental gene thyroid transcription factor 1.  Cell Cycle. 2012 Jan 1;11(1):177-86.  (PubMed=>)
  3. Jennifer E. Foreman, Wen-Chi L. Chang, Prajakta S. Palkar, Bokai Zhu, Michael G. Borland, Jennie L. Williams, Lance R. Kramer, Margie L. Clapper, Frank J. Gonzalez, and Jeffrey M. Peters.  Functional Characterization of Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor-ß/d Expression in Colon Cancer.  Mol Carcinog.2011 Nov50(11):884-900.(PubMed=>)
  4. Diego M. Avella, Eric T. Kimchi, Renee N. Donahue, Hephzibah Rani S. Tagarm, Patricia J. McLaughlin, Ian S. Zagon and Kevin F. Staveley - O'Carroll.  The opioid growth factor-opioid growth factor receptor axis regulates cell proliferation of human hepatocellular cancer.  Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 298:R459-466, 2010. (PubMed =>)
  5. Bi-Dar Wang,Chistina Leah B Kline,Danielle M. Pastor,Thomas L. Olson,Bryan Frank,Thuong Luu,Arun K Sharma,Gavin Robertson,Matthew T. Weirauch,Steven R. Paterno,Joshua M. Stuart,Rosalyn B. Irby, and Norman H. Lee.  Prostate apoptosis response protein 4 sensitizes human colon cancer cells to chemotherapeutic 5-FU through mediation of an NFkB and microRNA network.  Molecular Cancer 9:98,2010.  (PubMed=>)
  6. Goldenberg, D., I.S. Zagon, F. Fedok, H. Crist, and P.J. McLaughlin.  Expression of opioid growth factor (OGF)-OGF Receptor (OGFr) axis in human non-medullary thyroid cancer.  2008 Nov. Thyroid. 18(11):1165-70. (PubMed =>)
  7. Bayerl, M.G., Abou-Elella, A.A., Bruggerman, R.D. ,Conroy, E,J.,Hengst, J.A., King,T.S., Jimenez,M., Claxton,D.F. and Yun,J.K.  Spingosine Kinase 1 Protein and mRNA are Overexpressed in Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas and are Attractive Targets for Novel Pharmacological Interventions.  Leukemia and Lymphoma.  2008 May;49(5):948-54. (PubMed =>).
  8. Lin, et al. , DNA  methylation markers of surfactant proteins in lung cancer, International Journal of Oncology 31: 181-191, 2007 (PubMed =>)