nwbioTrust -- FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ for donors and others in the Northwest community

What does it mean to donate tissue and/or blood to the NW BioTrust?

If you consent to donate, blood or tissue samples not needed for your diagnosis or treatment will be preserved and made available for biomedical research. Information about you will be kept private by putting a code number on your samples.  Researchers may receive information about your condition or treatment but they will not receive any information about who you are unless you consent separately to another study that lets researchers link your identity to your samples.

How will my samples be used?

Researchers use donated tissue and blood samples to study what causes cancer and other diseases. Some studies aim to improve the ability to diagnose cancer and other diseases at the earliest possible stage. Other studies are exploring new and better treatments for patients with cancer and other diseases, or new ways to prevent cancer and other diseases from occurring in the first place.

What are the benefits of donating my tissue or blood?

Donating tissue or blood samples might not help you directly, but your donation could help make scientific advances for others with your condition in the future. Because your tissue and blood samples are extremely valuable for research, by consenting to donate them, you:

  • Ensure that leftover tissue or blood from your treatment will not be thrown out if there is a research study that can use it.
  • Join teams of scientists, clinicians, and other experts working to defeat cancer and other diseases as quickly as possible.

Will my treatment change if I agree to donate samples?

No. If you are a patient, your treatment will not change whether you consent to donate samples or not.

Are their costs if I agree to donate samples?

No. There are no costs to you or your insurance if you consent to donate samples.

Will I be paid for donating my samples?

No, you will not be paid or receive and other gifts or rewards. Many donors say they feel a sense of satisfaction by knowing they are helping research. The NWBioTrust is very grateful for your donation and participation—past and present scientific and medical advances depend on patient contributions like yours.

Will anyone make money from using my tissue or blood?

The institutions participating in the NWBioTrust will not make any money from your tissue or blood samples. However, it is possible that a discovery made from studies that use your samples could result in a profit to a company other than our participating institutions.

Will I get results from studies that use my tissue or blood samples?

No. Because a code number will be assigned to your samples, it is not possible to provide individual results. Summaries of research results from studies that receive samples from NWBioTrust will be featured on this website.

What if I have more questions about the NW BioTrust?

FAQ for Researchers

What is the NWBioTrust (NWBT)?

The NWBT is a Fred Hutchinson/University of Washington/Seattle Children’s collaborative resource dedicated to increasing the availability of high-quality, data-rich biospecimens for research. Biospecimens in existing repositories that are available for new research are visible through a web portal on the NWBioTrust site. NWBT can also assist in the prospective collection of specimens using research-specific protocols and time-sensitive distribution if samples are not available in existing repositories. Investigators may also request access to residual clinical blood samples in institutional clinical laboratories and archival tissue samples in the Department of Pathology that would otherwise be discarded.

What types of specimens are available?

Surgical and non-surgical tissue and blood specimens from consented patients and healthy volunteers at University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC), Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) and Seattle Children’s (SC) will be available. The nature, number, and size/volume of specimens collected within a given timeframe will depend on specimen type and availability. Examples are as follows:

  • Paired surgical tissue/blood
  • Paired surgical tumor/adjacent normal tissue
  • Blood specimens
  • Biopsy tissue

Tissue specimen processing, per investigator protocol, will also be available subject to staff and equipment availability.

What data will annotate the specimens?

Specimen annotation with de-identified, HIPAA-compliant clinical and pathological data will be provided with each specimen upon request. Specimen-associated data elements will depend on availability, tumor type and research question.

Who can request specimens?

Per the NWBT Resource Use and Prioritization Policy, requests will be accepted from:

  • Investigators from the participating institutions and their collaborators
  • Qualified biomedical researchers at Public/Washington State-Controlled Institutions of Higher Education
  • Qualified biomedical researchers at non-profit and for-profit Washington State organizations

What do the specimen services cost?

A list of fees for prospective specimen collection and other NWBT services is under development and will be posted on this web site when complete. Use of specimens in existing repositories is governed by those repositories and any fees should be discussed with their staffs.

How do I request specimens for my research?

Specimen requests should be submitted through the NWBT website. NWBT staff may contact requestors to further clarify requests and ensure that investigators are in compliance with IRB regulations and that they receive specimens best suited to the needs of their research projects.

What information do I have to provide as part of my specimen request?

Because human biospecimens are limited in number and extremely valuable, investigators will need to submit:

  • A brief summary of the proposed research (2 pages maximum), including a statement that specifically addresses the objectives of the study and its potential scientific value and clinical relevance; method(s) of analysis; and qualifications of the investigator(s) to perform the laboratory work
  • Information on the nature of material needed, including specimen type, processing protocol, number of samples, patient eligibility criteria, desired clinical annotation, and timeframe within which specimens are needed

Requestors will be required to submit copies of all applicable Human Subjects/Institutional Review Board (IRB) approvals associated with the proposed project before any specimens are acquired or distributed.

How long do I have to wait to get the specimens I request?

That depends on the nature of the request, e.g., the number of specimens needed and the rarity of the specimen type in the patient population.

How do I get information about the biospecimens available through the NWBT for use in a grant proposal?

Click here for a paragraph describing the NWBioTrust that can be used in grant proposals.

Are there any limitations on the use of the specimens in my research?

Use of research material received through NWBioTrust is governed by the Institutional Review Boards (IRB) of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the Fred Hutchinson/University of Washington Cancer Consortium, and the University of Washington, Seattle, WA, in accordance with Department of Health and Human Services regulations at 45 CFR 46.  All recipients of research material remain subject to applicable State or local laws or regulations and institutional policies that provide additional protections for human subjects. Any substantive changes in a research project, or use of material by entities other than those designated in the recipient’s IRB-approved protocol, require review and approval by the NWBT Oversight Committee and, where appropriate, by an IRB at the recipient site.

What is a UW NetID?

UW NetID stands for University of Washington Network Identification. Your UW NetID and password are your account for accessing the NWBioTrust Researcher Portal. For more information, please click here.

Why is a UW NetID used?

A UW NetID provides an extra layer of security to protect your NWBioTrust Researcher Portal Folder and its contents.

Am I eligible for a UW NetID?

If your institution is already an affiliate with the University of Washington, you are eligible for a UW NetID.  If you are unsure, or think you need sponsorship, please contact us at nwbt@uw.edu.