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American Reinvestment and Recovery Act

Cancer Human Biobank (caHUB)

What is the cancer Human Biobank (caHUB)?

caHUB is a national biobank, or biorespository, of human tissue, blood, and other biological materials--collectively known as biospecimens--that can be used for medical research. It will help ensure that an adequate and continuous supply of biospecimens is available to accelerate cancer research and the development of molecularly-based diagnostic and therapeutic agents that will further enable personalized medicine.

What are the goals of caHUB?

The goals of caHUB are to modernize the field of biobanking by:

  • Acquiring and making available to the research community biospecimens that have been collected according to the highest technical and ethical standards
  • Providing biospecimen reference samples that serve as benchmarks for specimen integrity and molecular type
  • Conducting research that supports evidence-based biospecimen best practices
  • Creating opportunities for collaboration and information exchange across the research enterprise

What are the accomplishments of this program to date?

caHUB was initiated in early 2009. However, in October 2008, NCI's Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research (OBBR), in partnership with NCI's Office of Communications and Education (OCE), presented findings from market research conducted with stakeholders in academia and NCI grantees.

The findings revealed that researchers:

  • Work in silos; collaboration is not widespread
  • Have difficulty acquiring both the quality and quantity of biospecimens needed for research
  • Question their data because of negative perceptions of biospecimen quality
  • Limit their scope of work due to shortages of quality biospecimens
  • Are extremely supportive of a national biobank and would be willing to obtain and contribute biospecimens to it

How much funding did this program receive through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and how will these funds be used?

NCI received $1.3 billion through ARRA, $70 M of which will be devoted to caHUB.

How will Recovery Act funding impact caHUB?

Recovery Act funds will be used to launch activities such as:

  • Collaborating with the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) to establish a clinical data collection system
  • Combining biospecimen data with other molecular data through NCI's cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid (caBIGĀ®) to create uniquely rich data profiles for each sample collected
  • Supporting high-impact research and development to help accelerate the standardization of biospecimen collection, processing, and storage protocols
  • Accelerating the scientific knowledge base needed to inform the development of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for biospecimen collection, processing, and storage protocols
  • Connecting caHUB partners to help develop, integrate, and disseminate new biospecimen processing technologies and infrastructure
  • Collecting both cancer biospecimens and normal tissue specimens according to stringent SOPs
  • Centralizing quality assurance, molecular validation, storage, and distribution of high-quality biospecimens through the caHUB Biospecimen Core Resource
  • Creating the caHUB Data Coordinating Center, which will manage a comprehensive databank that includes patient data from the National Cancer Database, specimen-handling data collected at individual sites, patient consent and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) authorization information, and molecular analysis data in one integrated system.

How is this program helping to stimulate the economy?

ARRA funds will help spur innovation and create and preserve jobs in multiple disciplines in the clinical, biorepository, bioinformatics, and research and development realms - areas that have been adversely impacted by the economic downturn.