Radiation Oncology Biosample Repository (ROBR)

The Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania has developed a Biosample Repository dedicated to the collection and distribution of human biosamples (i.e., blood, urine and tumor tissue) for scientific research.

The ROBR is overseen by the Director of Clinical Research and an interdisciplinary Biosample Repository Research Committee (BRRC), with day-to-day staff supervision provided by the Project Manager.

From whom do we collect specimens?

Individuals undergoing radiation therapy at the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine are invited to sign an informed consent and contribute biosamples.

Sample Collection and Processing

Plasma- Blood is collected using green top vacutubes containing sodium heparin and centrifuged at 3000rpm for 10minutes. The samples are frozen at -70 to -80 degrees Celsius.

Serum- Blood is collected using yellow top vacutubes and centrifuged at 3000rpm for 10 minutes. The samples are frozen at -70 to -80 degrees Celsius.

As specimens are collected and processed, they are also entered into an electronic database. This database is used to track sample type, quantity, storage location and distribution.

Current Sample Inventory

We currently have the samples available for the following disease sites: [to be announced]

Sample Requests

Available blood specimens (plasma, serum, and buffy coat) are distributed by the Biosample Repository Research Committee at a nominal fee for use in approved research projects. The Biosample Repository Research Committee (BRRC) reviews all requests by investigators interested in using the ROBR resources. The BRRC is comprised of faculty members including Radiation Oncologists, laboratory scientists and other staff. All investigators, both internal to PENN and external, are required to submit a detailed research proposal, which is first reviewed by the BRRC to ensure feasibility and availability of the requested materials.

Letter of Intent: RadOnc Biosample Repository Form

Priority will be given to University of Pennsylvania investigators and those who have received peer-reviewed grant support. External investigators will have access to the biospecimens once the IRB and the BRRC have granted approval of the proposed studies. On approval of the BR Director/PI and BRRC, the ROBR staff assembles the material from the sample library and ships to the requesting investigator.

Data on participants, including diagnosis, clinical treatments, outcomes and information on clinical intervention are collected from the Electronic Medical Record (EMR). This information is stripped of all protected health information (PHI) by BR staff and made available to approved investigators in a completely de-identified format. All demographic data and biosamples are identified by the individual-specific code number and date of collection.


The RadOnc Biosample Repository and Registry requires that all journal publications that result from the use of BRR samples acknowledge the “UPENN RadOnc Biosample Repository” as their sample source. The committee also strongly encourages that researchers using ROBR samples contact the Sponsor/PI(s) who initially collected the samples and invite them to be co-authors/collaborators on the research. The Repository Committee will supply study Sponsor/PI(s) information in the sample approval letter.


Investigator Type Sample type Fee
UPENN RadOnc Investigators Plasma and serum, set of 3 time-points No Charge
  Buffy coat No Charge
  Urine No Charge
UPENN faculty, not RadOnc Plasma and serum, set of 3 time-points $250
  Buffy coat $200
  Urine $100
Non UPENN academic institution Plasma and serum, set of 3 time-points $500
  Buffy coat $400
  Urine $200
Industry Plasma and serum, set of 3 time-points $1750
  Buffy coat $1400
  Urine $800

Investigators requesting 10-25 sample sets receive a discount of 10%.
Investigators requesting 26-50 sample sets receive a discount of 15%.
Investigators requesting 51-75 sample sets receive a discount of 20%.
Investigators requesting 76 or more sample sets receive a discount of 25%.


For more information, please contact the Biorepository at:  RadOncBiorepository@uphs.upenn.edu