The Asian Fund for Cancer Research is a proud sponsor of "The US-China Workshop on Common Standards for Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research" held in Tianjin, China on October 19, 2011. This workshop is organized by the National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) – AFCR's partner organization in the United States – and the Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research (OBBR) of the National Cancer Institute (NCI, U.S. Government's principal agency for cancer research and training).

This international workshop was intended to advance cancer research by raising awareness about the importance of developing and implementing common standards for biorepositories in the U.S. and China. Dr. Carolyn Compton, Head of OBBR, emphasized the need to initiate a process to identify and agree upon standards that can be implemented in both countries, and the importance of taking that first step toward global collaboration in the field.

NCI has long recognized the need to standardize and optimize biospecimen and data collections for cancer research and has made a significant effort to establish evidence-based best practices in the field. This initiative culminated in the "NCI Best Practices for Biospecimen Resources" (NCI Best Practices). The NCI Best Practices were originally published in 2007 and an updated version is to be released soon.

In 2004, NFCR and Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and Hospital (TMUCIH) established a Joint Tissue Bank (JTB) to collect and store fresh frozen tumor tissue and blood samples for use in cutting-edge cancer research. By 2007, the JTB had evolved into a larger project – serving as a research collaboration platform in China — the Tissue Bank Consortium in Asia (TBCA). TBCA is a member-based collaboration amongbiorepositories in Asia andbiopharmaceutical companies, along with governmental andresearch organizations, that promotes biospecimen-based cancerresearch collaboration. The Consortium encourages the adoption of common standards for biobank operations, includingquality control procedures related to biospecimen collection and storage, annotation and recording of associated clinical data,data sharing, and all other relevant processes, among the participating members. Today, TBCA is becoming a China-focused biorepository network in Asia that operates according to international standards.

This Joint Workshop reflected NCI's and NFCR's shared commitment to the dissemination and exchange of scientific knowledge about standards for biorepositories nationally and internationally. Through formal presentations and discussion among Workshop participants, the conference underscored the importance and the potential of expanded research collaboration involving scientists from China and the United States, and emphasized the role that access to high quality biospecimens plays in contemporary molecular-based cancer research.

The Asian Fund for Cancer Research was founded to support innovative cancer research in Asia, and promote exchange and collaboration among cancer researchers in Asia and in other parts of the world. AFCR is proud to be part of this international research collaboration.

For more information about the workshop, please visit

To learn more about the Tissue Bank Consortium in Asia, visit