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Maine Cancer Research Biobanks Improved

BANGOR, Maine_ Two Maine hospitals, Eastern Maine Medical Center and Maine Medical Center Research Institute will receive Maine Cancer Foundation grants to coordinate and expand their cancer biobanks- that's a collection of specimens kept to supply cancer researchers.
"Some of them might be blood. Some of them are actual tissue." explains Maine Cancer Foundation program officer Aysha Sheikh. "The two hospitals have complementary bio specimens, and so part of this project is allowing researchers, Maine researchers specifically, to access both types of bio specimens by accessing one specific portal."

Prior to the grant, the two entities didn't have a formal partnership or way of coordinating their samples. Each hospital will receive $200,000 to put toward their half of the biobank project.

"$200,000 is a significant amount of money for us." says Dr. Jens Rueter, a specialist working in Eastern Maine Medical Center's cancer research program. "It will allow us to collect more specimens from more cancer patients in Maine. It will also allow us to build a collaborative network within Maine which is very important."

Part of the project includes a new bio sample online portal, which works rather like a research library where scientists can search for and request samples.
Cancer is the leading cause of death in Maine, with Mainers dying from the disease at rates that outstrip the national average.