Mari Lowe Center for Comparative Oncology Research

3800 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

The PennVet Tumor Tissue Bank (PennVet TTB)

Within the last 10 years there has been increasing interest in comparative oncology and an increasing demand for small animal tumor tissue samples and related biofluids to support basic and clinical research. This research aims to further our understanding of spontaneous tumor biology and to discover novel therapies for tumor irradication in both the human and veterinary clinics. In response to this demand, the PennVet Tumor Tissue Bank (PennVet TTB) has been established within the School of Veterinary Medicine which aims to provide researchers with ready access to spontaneously occurring primary and metastatic tumor specimens for different research applications ranging from genomics and proteomics to allogeneic cancer vaccine preparation. The mission of the PennVet TTB is to generate a repository of canine and feline primary tumor specimens and related serum/plasma/biofluids that are stored in multiple formats and linked to a searchable comprehensive clinical database. This repository provides investigators the resources required to perform basic and translational comparative cancer research and serves to promote natural and synergistic collaborations between individuals working at the bench and those working in the clinics. Furthermore, the availability of primary spontaneously occurring tumor specimens facilitates the translation of promising novel cancer therapeutics from the bench into randomized clinical trials that can benefit dogs and cats with cancer when conventional therapies prove ineffective.

The development of a large and comprehensive TTB at the School of Veterinary Medicine aims to:

  1. Promote collaborations between researchers/clinician scientists within and between the Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
  2. Increase awareness of spontaneous, large animal models of cancer and encourage researchers to undertake comparative cancer research
  3. Function in concert with the VCIC to translate therapeutics that show efficacy in vitro into large animal phase I and II clinical trials 
  4. Accelerate discoveries in basic and translational veterinary oncology

The directors of the PennVet TTB manage the bank and its database and oversee quality assurance and control of banked specimens. Standard Operating Procedures are in place for tumor specimen collection and processing. All samples are stored in the following formats: formalin fixed, paraffin-embedded (e.g. for histopathology), OCT embedded (e.g. for immunohistochemistry), flash frozen (e.g. for DNA and RNA extraction) and cryopreserved as viable single cell suspensions (e.g. for the generation of primary cell lines). Through the use of an advanced database management system, all specimens can be rapidly identified, retrieved, cross-referenced and tracked. Basic and translational researchers at PennVet, the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine and other international institutions have utilized the tissues and cell lines stored within the bank to further our understanding of canine cancer and to develop novel therapies for use in the treatment of canine and feline cancers.