Shared Resource Spotlight: Molecular Pathology

April 13, 2020

The Molecular Pathology Shared Resource (MPSR) is a comprehensive service for clinical researchers and basic scientists alike conducting cutting-edge  basic science and translational research at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center. The team at the MPSR, led by founding director Hanina Hibshoosh, MD, are instrumental in facilitating tissue-based cancer research offering state-of-the-art services in tissue banking, tissue characterization and pathology analysis (histology, immunohistochemistry, tissue microarray, slide digitalization/analysis, histology review and molecular biology services), and project management and consultation. The MPSR fulfills approximately 5,000 service requests per year for researchers across Columbia University Irving Medical Center and beyond.

The MPSR offers comprehensive and efficient biobanking services. This includes systematic collection of ~1800 tumors excised at Columbia University Irving Medical Center as well as its highly efficient project/patient specific banking (anywhere, anytime, any analyte in real-time) with prioritization, processing and destination dictated by the researcher enabling them with a single email to fulfill their project specific needs. This is complemented  by the MPSR’s Next Generation Banking service. The organ and disease-based platform offers to researchers an open, non-proprietary, “off-the-shelf” access to systematic histologically characterized frozen banked tissue, DNA and RNA extraction, microarray construction, linked clinical data, and an image repository. Next Generation Banking currently focuses on the systematic evaluation of breast and pancreas tumors collected in the MPSR tumor bank and has recently been expanded to lymphoma. This platform reduces barriers to research and promotes collaboration.

In March, the MPSR began  to focus on COVID-19 as a partner in Columbia University’s newly established COVID-19 Biobank as the scientific community began to address the pandemic. Since the height of the pandemic, many researchers at the HICCC and across the University have begun new projects to address the disease with the collective goal of putting an end to the spread and finding a cure. The MPSR is working tirelessly with the new biobank to collect, analyze, and freeze tissues and organ samples from COVID-19+ surgical patients, autopsies, and placentas from both cancer and non-cancer patients.

While many of the immediate needs are for COVID-19 research projects, the MPSR still is working on cancer-related essential requests. It also is currently focused on expanding image digitalization and enhancing histology/molecular biology services through increased automation.

For more details about the MPSR’s offerings, visit the shared resources page.