Frequently Asked Questions for Researchers

How do I find out what samples you have available?

In order to determine whether we have the samples you need, you can search our database.The search will return the numbers of available samples and available annotations.If your question about sample availability cannot be answered using our database search, for example, if a variable of interest is not included in the default list, please email your query to Jill Henry.

How do I request samples?

To request samples, you will need to fill out a Tissue Request Proposal Form.

Is a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) required?

Yes. After the proposal is approved, the researcher must sign a Material Transfer Agreement, requiring that all data is to be returned to the Komen Tissue Bank as soon as data has been published and intellectual property secured. Data must be returned to the Bank even if the study results are negative, i.e., the hypothesis being tested is shown not to be correct.

May I have a confirmation letter of sample availability for a grant I am submitting?

Yes, please contact Jill Henry, COO, with the following information:

  • your name, your institution, and your full contact information
  • date the letter is needed
  • title of the grant
  • number and type(s) of samples requested

Please note: A letter of confirmation of sample availability does not guarantee that the samples will be provided. The researcher must still complete a Tissue Request Proposal Form and this proposal must be approved by the Tissue Request Committee.

What language should I use to acknowledge the KTB in my study manuscript?

Please use the following wording in the acknowledgements section of your manuscript: Samples from the Susan G. Komen Tissue Bank at the IU Simon Cancer Center were used in this study. We thank contributors, including Indiana University who collected samples used in this study, as well as donors and their families, whose help and participation made this work possible.

Is there a charge for the samples?

There is a minimal Cost Recovery fee assessed. Please view our Cost Recovery Schedule to find a fee chart.

What is the timeline for getting samples?

Submit your proposal by one of the three submission deadline dates – February 1, June 15, or October 15. The proposal review process takes approximately three months. Once your proposal has been approved and the Material Transfer Agreement is signed, the KTB staff will work with you to identify the cohort of samples you need, and they will be sent to you usually within 4-6 weeks after the MTA is signed.

Can you help me collect samples which aren’t already banked (prospectively)?

This answer is dependent upon a variety of factors including availability of the cohort, special processing needs, number of samples needed, etc. Please contact Jill Henry, COO, if you would like to initiate a request for prospective samples.

What if I do not use all of the samples I requested?

The KTB does not accept the return of any samples. All specimens not consumed by your research are to be destroyed, and a Sample Status Form V2.1 must be completed.

Why do I have to return my digital data?

One of the founding principles of the Komen Tissue Bank is to share data in order to facilitate the progress of breast cancer research. The KTB is creating a virtual tissue bank which will be populated with data derived from research completed with KTB samples; other researchers from around the world will be able to access this data.

How much annotation is there with each sample?

Donors complete a 6-8 page questionnaire about their health and medical history, covering the following information:

  • basic demographic data
  • breast cancer risk factors
  • reproductive history
  • use of hormones and other medication
  • medical history
  • family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer
  • whether or not the donor is a breast cancer survivor

All of this information is stored in a searchable Oracle database.

Where can I find research published using the KTB samples?

Please click here to find a listing of manuscripts published which have used samples from the Komen Tissue Bank.