Clinical Research Coordinator
Patrick Doyle, Maeve Dillon-Martin, Gulalai Shah, John He, Kris Zhai, Daphne Haas-Kogan, MD, David Kozono, MD PhD
David Kozono, MD, PhD
Research Category: Cancer
The Broadband biorepository study aims to collect samples and clinical data in a centralized, streamlined manner to inform biomarkers for radiation response. As of August 2022, over 5,700 patients have consented to participate. Broadband collects biospecimens including whole blood, plasma, serum, peripheral blood mononuclear cells, urine, and tissue biopsy discards to enable translational research projects. Patients are consented at their radiation mapping appointments at the 75 Francis Street Radiation Oncology clinic. This allows us to speak with all patients receiving radiation in our department for cancer and other indications, including inpatients and pediatric patients. Our protocol then allows for serial sample collection before, during, and after treatment, in conjunction with patients’ clinical appointments. Secondary use protocols to access samples and clinical data are typically approved within one week. Broadband also partners with the MGB Biobank allowing for collection of baseline plasma, serum, and DNA samples and access to genomic and lifestyle data collected by the Biobank. The Broadband team also partners with the PROFILE study at DFCI, which allows for tumor genomic data to be used for research. Combining these powerful datasets enables radiation oncology research aimed at elucidating biomarkers and underlying mechanisms for both treatment efficacy and side effects.
Responses to radiation treatment can vary greatly from person to person and from cancer to cancer. Little is understood about the factors that contribute to these differences. Personalized cancer care is a rapidly growing field within oncology, but recruiting patients to studies to collect these samples can be laborious and costly. Broadband aims to recruit a large, diverse group of radiation oncology patients to identify clues in their DNA and in their cancer that can better predict how radiation therapy will impact them. After someone joins, we collect medical information, questionnaires, and blood and urine samples during their usual medical appointments. Researchers can then request access to these resources for their own studies without many of the hurdles involved with starting a new project from scratch.
Some ongoing Broadband projects include Dr. Danielle Bitterman’s work testing an artificial intelligence algorithm to speed up the process of radiation planning, which normally requires organs, such as the heart, to be traced painstakingly by hand. Another project, led by Dr. Tracy Balboni, uses CT scan data and blood samples to study how radiation therapy may chronically impact the health of bones.