Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How many specimens are available?
A: More than 1 million paraffin embedded tissues are available and there are now 6000+ fresh/frozen archives that are being added.
Q: What kinds of specimens are available?
A: PSL indexes a full range of post-diagnostic specimens from all body sites and includes both benign and malignant tissues.
Q: What types of genomic experiments can be run on paraffin embedded specimens?
A: Since DNA fragments of up to 400 bp and RNA fragments of up to 150 nucleotide in length can be routinely isolated from the specimens, mutation detection, SNP analysis, detection of translocation, microRNA quantitation are examples of experiments that have been successfully run from these specimens. Recent studies have shown that formalin fixed paraffin embedded tissues can be used gene expression profiling.
Q: Do I need IRB approval just to query for statistical aggregate information on specimens?
Q: What IRB approvals do I need to obtain tissue?
A: The investigator must have an IRB approved study and obtain approval from the institution holding specimens.
Q: Do I need to know a pathologist to use PSL?
A. No. However, a pathologist participating in a project involved the use of human tissue can provide the necessary quality control and improve the validity of a study.
Q: How is the PSL IRB structured across independent institutions?
A: Please refer to our document "Decentralized IRB Model for automonous specimen banks"
Q: How much do specimens cost and who owns them?
A: Each tissue bank specifies the costs for raw specimens and specimen retrieval. The costs and business rule are described in "Decentralized IRB Model for automonous specimen banks"
Q: What is the relationship between PSL and SPIN?
A: SPIN was originally funded as two consortia between Harvard-UCLA and Pittsburgh-Indiana. PSL is the production instantiation of that effort across all four HMS Teaching Hospitals. The SPIN technology has been extended for biosurveillance and other uses.
Q: Does PSL directly query the hospital pathology database?
A: No. PSL holds a de-identified mirror image of the information stored in the hospital pathology databases available for query.