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Christiana Care First Community Hospital to Submit Samples to Cancer Genome Atlas Project

WILMINGTON, Del., Nov. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Christiana Care Health System's Helen F. Graham Cancer Center became the first community hospital in the nation to submit specimens to the Biospecimen Core Resource (BCR) of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Project. The project is part of a sweeping initiative by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to help doctors diagnose, treat and even prevent cancer in the future.


Because community hospitals treat 85% of all cancer patients, involving select community hospitals in an expanded TCGA network increases the volume of quality tissue samples and clinical expertise to this nationwide project.

Collecting and storing samples of tissue and blood from cancer patients to study in the laboratory will help physicians learn more about changes that occur in DNA and identify biomarkers related to cancer.

Researchers at BCR labs in Phoenix, Ariz., extract DNA from the specimens for genome sequencing. The sequencing helps researchers map a comprehensive atlas of molecular information listing the changes in genomes, or genetic material, found in various types of cancer.

"TCGA Project will help in establishing personalized medicine whereby patients' diagnosis and treatment of cancer will be based on their own genetic profile," says Nicholas Petrelli, M.D., Bank of America endowed medical director, Helen F. Graham Cancer Center. "The research also will help to identify patients who are most likely to respond to specific treatments in clinical trials, leading to better outcomes."

One of an elite group of 14 centers in the United States selected to the NCI Community Cancer Centers Program, The Helen F. Graham Cancer Center established a tissue bank in 2003 and received The Cancer Genome Atlas award in September 2008.

Workers at the Graham Cancer Center began collecting specimens for this groundbreaking project in March 2009. In the beginning, the initiative involved only three types of tumors: brain, ovary and lung. The NCI chose these three because the prognosis for patients with these types of tumors is poor and the likelihood of obtaining high-quality specimens is good.

Today, all types of colorectal and breast tumors along with kidney cancers are included. James Robb, M.D., FACH, consulting pathologist to the NCI and Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research, has high praise for Christiana Care after a site visit to the Graham Cancer Center in October. "I can't say enough about the Christiana NCCCP-TCGA team," Dr. Robb says. "[They are] excellent, energetic and committed."

About the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center at Christiana Care

At the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center, we save lives. We are transforming cancer care by translating the latest research into safe, effective treatments and building the Delaware Valley's most comprehensive, multidisciplinary cancer program. The Helen F. Graham Cancer Center at Christiana Care is one of 14 cancer programs the National Cancer Institute (NCI) chose to launch a strategic initiative that will greatly extend access to NCI-sponsored clinical trials around the country. For more information, please visit

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Nicholas Petrelli

SOURCE Christiana Care Health System

SOURCE Christiana Care Health System
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