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U.S. National Institutes of Health National Cancer Institute

Applying for Specimens

Applications to use SEER Residual Tissue Repository (RTR) specimens should be sent to A one or two page summary of the concept and a completed SEER RTR Biospecimen Request Form (PDF) are required. If RTR resources match the study needs, NCI will provide the investigator with information on how to proceed.

On this page:

Application Components

Between the summary and Biospecimen Request Form, applications should include the following information:

  • Investigator contact information:
    • Name
    • Institutional affiliation
    • Street address
    • E-mail address
    • Work and fax phone numbers
  • ICD-O-3 site and morphology codes for tumors of interest
  • Summary of proposed study:
    • Scope of work
    • Specific aims
    • Scientific background and rationale
    • Feasibility of study
    • Experience with proposed laboratory methods
    • Quantity and type of tissue
    • Timeline
  • Source of funding
  • Any other key information

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Criteria for Review and Application Tips:

  • Hypotheses: Because RTR biospecimen resources are limited, proposals are prioritized based on the quality of population-based hypotheses. Investigators without a strong population-based rationale are encouraged to consider other sources for biospecimens.
  • Applicability of results: Applicants are encouraged to include a power calculation for anticipated associations, based on estimates such as the prevalence of biomarkers in tumors and anticipated association with outcome.
  • Investigators: Priority is also given to proposals that demonstrate investigator experience with assays in the protocol. Qualified researchers include epidemiologists, pathologists, and other medical professionals who are peer-reviewed and funded at government, academic, and nonprofit institutions.
  • Research regulations: Assurance is expected that specimen-associated data are maintained in compliance with HIPAA provisions. For more information, see the Research Regulations section.

Guidance on proposals is available from the RTR Committee at a monthly teleconference held from 3:00pm Eastern time on the third Wednesday of each month. A proposal and SEER RTR Biospecimens Request Form should be submitted to at least one week before the call. This allows review and a decision on whether to include the proposal on the agenda.

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Application Approval and Project Deliverables

After application is approved:

Expected deliverables:

  • Investigators provide periodic progress reports to the SEER RTR Committee.
  • Manuscripts undergo clearance by the SEER RTR Committee.
  • RTR personnel who contribute to a manuscript will be included as co-authors.
  • Upon completion of the project, data will be shared with NCI’s RTR coordinator.

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