Van Andel Institute to serve as Cancer MoonshotSM Biorepository

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (September 15, 2020) — Van Andel Institute’s Biorepository has been awarded a $2.7 million, two-year subcontract from the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research currently operated by Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc. on behalf of the National Cancer Institute to serve as the biorepository for the Cancer Moonshot Biobank study, a national initiative to transform cancer treatment and prevention through accelerated research.

In this role, VAI will assemble and distribute kits for the collection of tumor tissue, blood and other biospecimens to hospitals and medical centers around the U.S. Once samples are collected from volunteers, they will be shipped to VAI for processing and either stored for later study or sent to other organizations conducting analyses for the Cancer Moonshot. In all, the Biobank project is expected to collect biospecimens from more than 1,000 participants.

“Biospecimens are the bedrock of scientific research — without them, we wouldn’t be able to study cancer or develop new treatments and diagnostics,” said Scott Jewell, Ph.D., director of VAI’s Core Technologies and Services, which includes the Institute’s Biorepository. “We are honored to be part of the Cancer Moonshot Biobank study and look forward to doing our part to support research and improve cancer care.”

The Cancer Moonshot was launched in 2016 by the Obama Administration. Its strategic aims, determined by a Blue Ribbon Panel of experts, are designed to answer critical scientific and medical questions while ensuring the samples collected represent the diversity of the U.S. population.

VAI’s Biorepository provides services for a number of large-scale national and international projects, including NIH’s Clinical Proteomic Tumor Analysis Consortium and the National Cancer Institute’s Biospecimen Pre-Analytical Variables Program. The Biorepository team also played an integral role in biospecimen collection for the NIH’s Genotype-Tissue Expression project, including developing and shipping the kits used by investigators around the country to collect tissue samples. It currently serves as the biobank for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation’s CoMMpass Study, the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance and the Van Andel Institute–Stand Up To Cancer Epigenetics Dream Team. Since 2012, VAI’s Biorepository has been accredited by the College of American Pathologists (no. 8017856), which provides objective assurance that VAI meets or exceeds the high standards set by CAP.

The project has been funded in whole or in part with federal funds from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under contract no. HHSN261201500003I, Task Order HHSN26100042 through Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc. under subcontract no. 20X062Q. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Health and Human Services, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. government.

Media Contact
Beth Hinshaw Hall
Van Andel Institute
[email protected]


Van Andel Institute (VAI) is committed to improving the health and enhancing the lives of current and future generations through cutting edge biomedical research and innovative educational offerings. Established in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1996 by the Van Andel family, VAI is now home to more than 400 scientists, educators and support staff, who work with a growing number of national and international collaborators to foster discovery. The Institute’s scientists study the origins of cancer, Parkinson’s and other diseases and translate their findings into breakthrough prevention and treatment strategies. Our educators develop inquiry-based approaches for K-12 education to help students and teachers prepare the next generation of problem-solvers, while our Graduate School offers a rigorous, research-intensive Ph.D. program in molecular and cellular biology. Learn more at vai.org.