Lets Take Tissue Samples!

In chapter nine: The Challenge of Precision Medicine, a pathologist at Massachusetts General Hospital named Carolyn Compton dealt with the removal of a colon. During this process, they discovered  that tissue collection and preservation show some trouble for the biomedical research. The anesthesia used in the operating room can affect them, and the molecules can change when the blood supply to the tissue is being removed. The amount of time the tissue sits around and the temperature of the room could also have some effects which is an issue with precision medicine. Waiting on an organ or tissue sample isn’t a big issue, or at least that what scientist and researchers thought at first. For example, a test was done to diagnose a breast cancer tissue with a variant called HER- 2 positive. But while taking the test of the the tissue sample with the HER- 2 trait, it responded that it wasn’t present when the HER-2 trait was present. It also found the HER-2 trait in tissue samples that were not supposed to have the HER-2 trait. Soon, scientist discovered that one of the causes for this happening was that the amount of time that the tissue sample was let sit out and be exposed had a change on the test outcomes changing the tissue sample outcome from positive to negative. This was happening because the HER-2 trait would break down when exposed to the room temperature. In research labs, there are no national standards on how to handle tissue and this will affect the precision of medicine. The location of where the sample is taken from can also have an effect on the results of the test. If one sample comes from a clinic and another sample comes from a hospital, the outcome of the results could be significantly different and will waste resources and money. After Carolyn Compton studied this and realized that this was commonly happening, she decided with Anna Barker and the NCI deputy director that this was a big problem and they should create some standard operating procedures. She also decided she wanted to make standard procedures on the way that data was taken and how it was exchanged with others. She wanted to make sure that the data was reproducible. Taking test on tissue samples from cancer is very difficult because most scientist need to realize that different cancel cells grow at completely different rates.


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