KTB Lab Receives Exciting Deliveries from Qiagen

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In June, thanks to the generous funding of the Peachey Prevention Fund and the Alana H. Weston-Matilda Jane Clothing Breast Cancer Research Fund at the IU Foundation (“Weston-Matilda Jane Fund”), the KTB lab was granted two new pieces of innovative technology research equipment – the QIAcube Connect (Qiagen) and the QIAxcel Advanced (Qiagen).

The Catherine Peachey Breast Cancer Prevention Program Fund is the endowed fund established by the Catherine Peachey Fund to support ongoing breast cancer prevention work at Indiana University.  “The Weston-Matilda Jane Fund supports the KTB and normal tissue research. The fund was established at the IU Foundation in honor of a dedicated Matilda Jane Clothing team member who bravely battled breast cancer. The KTB is blessed to have financial contributors who help support evolving research technologies and techniques that aid in the fight to cure cancer.  

The QIAcube Connect is an automated system that extracts primary DNA or RNA from up to 12 tissue and blood samples at a time. It will immediately be used for the KTB Microbiome project to extract bacterial DNA from 300 normal breast tissues and about 100 breast cancer tissues. This project proposes to identify bacteria that inhabit the breasts of healthy women (low or normal risk) and women who developed breast cancer (both early stage and metastatic), and understand how changes in bacterial population (called dysbiosis) could affect breast cancer initiation and progression. The QIAcube Connect will also be used to extract DNA from blood from tissue donors after donation events.

 The QIAxcel Advanced is a quality control system for the QIAcube Connect. It will be used to quantify and qualify the amounts of DNA and RNA in samples in a very precise and reliable way, which is important for downstream analyses, like Next Generation Sequencing.

The equipment previously used in the KTB lab only allowed for manual processing of tissue samples. This new technology automates this process, increases productivity of the KTB lab team, and leads to quicker answers on how the composition of a woman’s normal breast tissue affects breast cancer risk. These two new pieces of equipment will ultimately increase the quantity and quality of normal tissue sample analyses in the KTB lab.

The QIAcube delivers nearly a fivefold greater recovery of DNA and RNA as compared to the manual system the researchers were previously using. The automation assures streamlined processes, as well as enhanced reproducibility with reduced human error and less hands-on time. This equipment offers the highest safety standards and provides digital and barcode-enabled sample tracking and pre-run checks, which guarantees confidence in the results.

Previously, quality control of analysis was outsourced to a facility that is shared by all IU Simon Cancer Center researchers. The QIAxcel now allows that step to be done right in the KTB lab, avoiding outsourcing costs and delays. The two instruments will also streamline the Komen Tissue Bank collection process. They will allow the KTB to isolate and quantify the genomic DNA from whole blood after each collection event without relying on an external facility.

The KTB is so grateful to the Peachey Prevention Fund and the Weston-Matilda Jane Fund not only for their generosity, but for believing, as we do, that surely the answer will be found in #Normal.