For the past eleven years, Windber Research Institute has collected tissue from breast cancer tumors and on Tuesday December 18, that effort reached a major milestone.
You could call it a big thermos, with liquid nitrogen in the walls. The internal temperature of the freezer always hovers at minus 190 degrees, the perfect atmosphere for breast cancer tumor samples.
The Windber Research Institute is the repository for breast tissue from women treated at Walter Reed and other U.S. military hospitals, as well as from the Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center. But it doesn't just hold the tissue.
Scientists at the research center type and categorize the samples. They use them in their own studies and also make them available to cancer researchers around the world.
Just two months ago, scientists published a major genetic study of breast cancer tumors and the Windber Research Institute played a significant role, providing 25% of the tissue samples used in the research.
Colonel Craig Shriver, a cancer surgeon is also the director of the John Murtha Cancer Center at Walter Reed. He helped start the breast tissue repository at Windber
Doctor Shriver came back to mark the institute's latest milestone by helping to deposit breast cancer tissue sample number 50,000 in the repository. He pledged to continue support the work at Windber toward a cure.
Dr. Shriver says Windber is now the repository for all types of cancer tissue samples from the Department of Defense.