The Cooperative Human Tissue Network was created by the National Cancer Institute in 1987 to support a coordinated national effort to collect and distribute high-quality, pathologist-validated human tissues for cancer research.
Since then, the network has expanded to provide different types of tissue samples, blood and body fluid samples, immunohistologic and molecular sample preparations, tissue microarrays, and clinical datasets inclusive of biomarkers and molecular testing. From inception through the end of 2021, the network has distributed 1,375,041 bio-specimens. It served 889 active investigators in 2021.
In a new article in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, CHTN Southern Division leader Shannon McCall, MD (corresponding author), together with the other 5 CHTN Division leaders and NCI staff, breaks down the advances of the past 15 years, including the shift from molecular biomarker testing of individual genes to panels of hundreds of genes to the increased use of whole-exome and whole-genome sequencing, and steps they are taking to optimize the representation of diverse communities among the distributed biospecimens.
Duke has been the CHTN Southern Division Headquarters since 2019.
This division encompasses the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, and New Mexico. Operational and scientific highlights of the CHTN Southern Division (page 7 of the review) include: the Frameshift Molecular Registry of Tumors and leading-edge technologies like whole-slide imaging, nucleic acid extraction, digital spatial profiling/transcriptomics via the NanoString GeoMx platform, multiplexed IHC stains for standard immune markers, and more.