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Journal of Oncology
Volume 2013, Article ID 368751, 12 pages
Review Article

Tissue Banking, Bioinformatics, and Electronic Medical Records: The Front-End Requirements for Personalized Medicine

1The Genomics and Biomarkers Program, The John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack, University Medical Center, D. Jurist Research Building, 40 Prospect Avenue, Hackensack, NJ 07601, USA
2Sophic Systems Alliance Inc., 20271 Goldenrod Lane, Germantown, MD 20876, USA
3Siemens Corporate Research, IT Platforms, Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
4Research for the Cure Foundation, Hillsdale, NJ 07642, USA

Received 7 February 2013; Revised 3 May 2013; Accepted 7 May 2013

Academic Editor: Thomas E. Adrian

Copyright © 2013 K. Stephen Suh et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Personalized medicine promises patient-tailored treatments that enhance patient care and decrease overall treatment costs by focusing on genetics and “-omics” data obtained from patient biospecimens and records to guide therapy choices that generate good clinical outcomes. The approach relies on diagnostic and prognostic use of novel biomarkers discovered through combinations of tissue banking, bioinformatics, and electronic medical records (EMRs). The analytical power of bioinformatic platforms combined with patient clinical data from EMRs can reveal potential biomarkers and clinical phenotypes that allow researchers to develop experimental strategies using selected patient biospecimens stored in tissue banks. For cancer, high-quality biospecimens collected at diagnosis, first relapse, and various treatment stages provide crucial resources for study designs. To enlarge biospecimen collections, patient education regarding the value of specimen donation is vital. One approach for increasing consent is to offer publically available illustrations and game-like engagements demonstrating how wider sample availability facilitates development of novel therapies. The critical value of tissue bank samples, bioinformatics, and EMR in the early stages of the biomarker discovery process for personalized medicine is often overlooked. The data obtained also require cross-disciplinary collaborations to translate experimental results into clinical practice and diagnostic and prognostic use in personalized medicine.