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The Cancer Genome Atlas

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Pilot Project To Map Three Cancers
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Map of TCGA Components
  Click here to view a map of TCGA Components.

National Cancer Institute National Human Genome Research Institute

I Biospecimen Core Resource

Components Map
Click here
to view a map of the Biospecimen Core Resource (BCR).

The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) established a Biospecimen Core Resource (BCR) to act as a centralized site to review and process biospecimens and associated data for TCGA according to high quality standards. It should be noted that the phrase “high quality” refers not only to the biological quality of tissue and the quality of the clinical annotation, but also to the ethical and legal status under which donors are enrolled and consented. The BCR is the primary TCGA interface with the clinical sites at which donors are enrolled, and tissue samples and clinical data are collected.

An important goal in establishing this central resource is to ensure that molecular analytes (i.e. DNA and RNA) extracted from tissue samples are of consistent and high quality. The BCR receives biospecimens from the source sites, and, after a rigorous pathology quality control process, generates the biomolecules using uniform protocols. These analytes, in turn, undergo a molecular quality control process before they are distributed to TCGA Cancer Genome Characterization Centers and Genome Sequencing Centers for genomic analysis.

The BCR also collects broad clinical information associated with each specimen donor. These data come from multiple systems at the different clinical sites, and, consequently, do not necessarily describe the clinical status of the donors using the same terminologies. The BCR reformats the data from the clinical source sites into standardized (caBIG™ compliant) data structures so the eventual analyses performed on the combined molecular and clinical data sets are based upon common definitions.

The BCR is also charged with verifying that TCGA human subjects protection guidelines are adhered to and that all human subjects regulations have been followed at the contributing sites, including informed consent and IRB review of protocols. Click here to view the TCGA informed consent documents.

The International Genomics Consortium of Phoenix, Ariz. was selected to manage the BCR for The Cancer Genome Atlas Pilot Project.


National Cancer InstituteNational Human Genome Research InstituteNational Institutes of HealthDepartment of Health and Human