Biomarkers

Regina Santella, Ph.D., Director

Irina Gurvich, M.S., Manager 

The Biomarkers Shared Resource (Biomarkers SR) is a joint resource of the Cancer Center and Columbia’s NIEHS Center for Environmental Health in Northern Manhattan. It provides a centralized, efficient and cost-effective resource for receiving, handling and storing human samples that are collected as part of research studies in molecular epidemiology and other types of cancer-related research. Services provided include:

  • Consultation on sample processing
  • Preparation of kits for bio-specimen collection
  • Processing and storage of blood components, including cells and plasma
  • Storage of other body fluids, including urine, sputum, and oral cells
  • Isolation of DNA/RNA with quality controls
  • Maintenance of a sample inventory
  • Analysis of candidate single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) by Taqman assays
  • DNA methylation by Pyrosequencing
  • ELISA with commercially available kits

Consultation is provided on all aspects of sample collection and processing for specific studies including the types of tubes needed for sample collection, shipment methods, separation of specific fractions, number of aliquots, etc. The samples processed and/or stored include blood, urine, oral cells, and sputum. Coded samples are received by the facility and processed into appropriate fractions (e.g., plasma, mononuclear cells, granulocytes, total white blood cells and red blood cells) and frozen in multiple aliquots in more than one freezer whenever possible. A web-based database of the sample inventory is maintained and samples retrieved as specified in the governing protocol. A telephone alarm system is used to ensure sample safety. Additional services include DNA isolation from buccal and white blood cells and plasma and serum, RNA isolating including microRNAs, whole genome amplification of limited DNA samples, genotyping for single nucleotide polymorphisms in candidate genes, and DNA methylation assays. Commercial ELISA kits can also be run by the SR. Samples from over 34,000 subjects participating in 112 different studies, 78 cancer-related, are currently stored.