MCW Tissue Bank Receives College of American Pathologists Biorepository Accreditation

Access to high quality biospecimens is crucial to the work of clinical, translational, and basic science investigators. In this age of precision medicine, the demand for reliable samples continues to grow. According to a recent survey of NCI-funded Cancer Centers, however, many investigators reported that lack of quality biospecimens has resulted in limiting the scope of their work, or even leaving them questioning their findings.

Fortunately, MCW investigators have access to a high quality biorepository right here on campus. The MCW Tissue Bank received a three-year accreditation by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) in recognition of quality practices, efficient operations, and strong processing statistics. CAP Accreditation involves a rigorous inspection, desk review, and assessments to ensure the highest standards are met, including:

  • Appropriate ethical and legal frameworks for the use of biospecimens in IRB-approved research
  • Well-controlled pre-analytic variables for optimal scientific investigation or biomarker development
  • Robust chains of custody tracking, reduced risk of misidentification
  • Appropriate storage conditions and temperature monitoring
  • Best practice policies and procedures for sample release
  • Histologic quality assurance for starting tumor content in samples homogenized for downstream assays
  • Confidence in the long-term quality of biospecimens
  • Differentiation for research/grant funding opportunities

The MCW Tissue Bank is one of 65 accredited biorepositories in the nation and one of only two in the state of Wisconsin. Although our Cancer Center is working towards NCI designation, of the 72 national cancer centers that are designated, only 19 have a CAP Accredited Biorepository. The Tissue Bank and Pathology Research Biocore will be highlighted as flagship shared resources in the Cancer Center Support Grant application.

This milestone achievement has been made possible by the dedicated team supporting the Tissue Bank. Director Hallgeir Rui, MD, PhD, Professor and Vice Chair of Research in the Department of Pathology and Interim Co-Director of the Cancer Center, helped guide the program throughout the accreditation process. Mary Rau, Manager of the Tissue Bank, was instrumental in driving implementation of the extensive procedures, documentation and quality control routines required for successful accreditation and has effectively led the program with a highly structured approach for several years. The team of lab staff has been committed to the accreditation process and have been essential to the success of the Tissue Bank. Acknowledgement to the MCW Tissue Bank Executive Committee for providing high-level oversight of the program, and to Saul Suster, MD, who founded the Tissue Bank as it stands today.

The Tissue Bank wishes to thank everyone that has contributed to this accomplishment, particularly the extensive support of clinicians and hospital staff with the consenting of patients and ensuring timely delivery of biospecimens. For inquires, please contact the Tissue Bank.

MCW Tissue Bank receives College of American Pathologists biorepository accreditation

Tissue Bank personnel, pictured left to right: Allyson Gorman, Research Technologist I; Kelli Sorge, Laboratory Assistant; Ellen Schneider, Research Technologist III; Jasmine Pickett, Laboratory Assistant; Dr. Hallgeir Rui, Director; Mary Rau, Program Manager; Mollie Patton, Pathologists’ Assistant; Mónica Thom, Laboratory Assistant; Jason Kirkpatrick, Research Coordinator

Not pictured: Janelle Lang-Piette, Research Technologist II, and Julie Dropp, Histology Technician