The Center for Cancer Prevention and Treatment

Biospecimen Program

In partnership with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) through the NCI Community Cancer Centers Program (NCCCP) and generous contributions from the community and medical staff donors, St. Joseph Hospital is the first and only community hospital in Orange County to have an active biospecimen repository.

St. Joseph Hospital is pleased to offer members of the community the opportunity to voluntarily provide tissue and blood samples and contribute to scientific advances in research and medicine. Through the collaboration between the community hospital and the diverse population of patients we serve, together, we can help researchers find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases that may benefit the community at large.

What is a biospecimen repository?
Biospecimen repositories are "libraries" in which tissue (materials from the body such as blood and urine are stored) either for clinical or research purposes.

Why are biospecimens collected?
Human biospecimens play an integral role in improving the treatment and prevention of diseases such as cancer. A specimen bank is vital in enabling modern science to look at the smallest characteristics of tissue to conduct molecular-based research. Such specific research drives the development of new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases. Biospecimen contributions help researchers gain knowledge to improve clinical outcomes with the goal of saving lives.

How are biospecimens collected?
After a research participant's consent and planned procedure, only the portion of the tissue not needed for diagnosis and treatment is set aside. With the participant's consent, this excess tissue is processed and stored for future research.

What happens after the biospecimen is collected?
The biospecimen technician processes and stores the leftover tissue for research. Along with the specimens set aside, important information about the research participant, his/her health and disease history is recorded. This helps to conduct meaningful research on both normal and diseased or cancerous cells.

Do I get to decide what research my tissue is used for?
No. You will not get to decide what kind of research your tissue is used for, just as you do not get to decide who gets your blood when you donate at a blood drive.

Who gets to participate?
Participation in providing your tissue for research is as easy as providing your written consent. Only research participants who provide a documented informed consent prior to their scheduled procedure are eligible to participate. As with any other clinical trial, participation in this research is voluntary and participants may withdraw at any time following the appropriate withdrawal procedures.

If I participate, is my personal health information safe?
The biospecimen and the accompanying medical information will only be shared with commercial or academic institutions approved by the investigators and/or the Institutional Review Board.

Will I see the results from my donation?
Results of the research performed on tissue will not be provided directly to the research participant or in most cases the collecting hospital. Tissue research is a long, extensive process and requires tissue samples from many participants before results are known. Research studies may take years.

As an NCCCP site, The Center for Cancer Prevention and Treatment has the privilege of utilizing and sharing in the development of guidelines that define state-of-the-art biospecimen resource practices. These rigorous processes adhere to ethical and legal requirements set forth in the NCI Best Practices for Biospecimen Resources by the Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research Branch and the National Institutes of Health.

Contact us
If you have any questions or are interested in participating, talk to your doctor. For more information on the Biospecimen Repository Program at The Center for Cancer Prevention and Treatment, call (714) 734-6220 or email

Tissue Bank Resources
Providing Your Tissue for Research: What You Need to Know
Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research Branch