"Most [researchers] focus on one particular area, and they’ll have ideas to test new therapies to treat that X, Y, or Z-leukemia," said Alix Seif, MD, an attending physician at CHOP who investigates immune system-stimulation to treat leukemia. "But if there are two patients a year with that particular leukemia diagnosis, and one of them says no, then it could be 10 years before a researcher can get enough patient samples to do anything with."

The biorepository speeds up this process: With samples already banked prospectively, that researcher may get up to 10 infant leukemia specimens. On top of that, they may also get specimens from older children for comparison. Specimens remain usable for decades and, thanks to six years of development, the repository contains thousands of high-quality samples. An online query tool called the CCCR Harvest inventory and data discovery system helps researchers find and request the proper types of specimens for their study. Investigators can sift through real-time, de-identified data that details each specimen’s characteristics, clinical pathology data, genetic testing results, and more.

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