Carol Deminie, PhD, Research Associate

The Yale Gastrointestinal Cancer Biorepository houses tissue and blood specimens from patients diagnosed with Gastrointestinal (GI) cancers at Smilow Cancer Hospital to be used in future research. Carol Deminie, PhD, is a Research Associate that helps recruit patients to participate in the biorepository, administers the intake questionnaire and also acquires and processes tissues collected from surgical specimens in collaboration with the Yale Pathology Tissue Services. With specimens from over 450 people, The GI Cancer Biorepository has thousands of blood and tissue specimens.

The main inclusion criterion for Biorepository enrollment is a primary GI tumor such as liver, colon or pancreatic, that has not yet been exposed to treatment such as chemotherapy. If a physician thinks that a patient is a good candidate, Carol will meet with them to explain the process. "Most patients are very eager to participate," said Carol. "They know that by allowing us to bank their specimen, they are potentially furthering cancer research down the road." Researchers may use a specimen to isolate the RNA or DNA to find new genetic markers through next-generation sequencing or sample proteins from tissue or blood. Carol takes a full history of the patient, including family history of cancer, lifestyle habits such as smoking, physical activity and dietary preferences, and basic questions about other health conditions in order to provide researchers a complete clinical and epidemiologic annotation that complements each archived specimen. All collected data is then stored in OnCore, Yale Cancer Center's clinical trials data management tool, to help accurately track and retrieve samples and data once a project is approved. Each sample is also linked to the patient's EPIC medical record which captures offered treatments and patient response. This comprehensive resource is unique to Yale Cancer Center and is a benefit to our researchers.

Dr. Bonnie Gould Rothberg, Assistant Professor of Medicine (Medical Oncology), Epidemiology and Pathology, whose lab Carol works in, commented, "Carol is responsible for handling all biospecimens in the lab as well as collecting all of the clinicopathologic data on enrolled participants. By necessity, she has forged relationships with Smilow patients as she performs direct face-to-face interviews as part of our study protocol. She is an invaluable asset to the team." The Yale GI Cancer Biorepository is generously supported by Dr. Howard Hochster and the team is grateful to all of the clinicians who allow Carol access to their clinics and patients.