'Spinning' up the tissues at Harvard

Ever since the late 1990's we have been working on a variety of methods for retrieving data across disparate institutions that are often not even part of the same corporation. In response to an RFA from the National Cancer Institute, called the Shared Pathology Informatics Network, we developed a toolkit that is now in widespread use, specifically to enable genomic and other biological studies on the millions of specimens that are archived across healthcare institutions. As is often the case, we were late in bringing our own tools to use in our own backyard, but that has now happened. The Pathology Specimen Locator (PSL) is now live at our CTSA Catalyst portal. As shown in this screenshot, with authorized credentials, I was able to see that there are over 10,000 lung cancer samples (you can query for any tissue type and disease) across a wide range of ages. It is this sort of IRB-protected, informatics-enabled data liquidity that will accelerate our translational research efforts. Hats off to the entire team but particularly Andy, Frank, John, and Mark.


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