What We Do

The Study and Biospecimens team includes about a dozen people who manage the collection and storage of biospecimens for the American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Studies (CPS). Around a half dozen data analysts make up the Analyst Core, which collect and evaluate the data that's used by epidemiology staff and others in the ACS Population Science department in their research studies.

The Study and Biospecimens team administers and manages the collection of data for CPS-II, and CPS-3.

We manage and carefully coordinate each step of the study process. For instance, we:

  • Strategize and deliver communications with CPS participants, such as newsletters, survey or sub-study invitations, and responses to participant inquiries. 
  • Manage and update participant contact information.
  • Develop surveys.
  • Collect and process data from surveys.
  • Track participants’ responses to surveys and develop strategies to increase their engagement and survey response rates.
  • Procure and receive tumor tissue samples and manage their storage and use in the ACS biorepository, in addition to millions of other biospecimen samples, including blood, buccal cells (skin cells from the inside of the cheek, used to get DNA), urine, and stool.
  • Collect cancer outcomes’ data about CPS participants from state cancer registries and mortality data about participants from the National Death Index.
  • Develop and maintain systems that ensure the privacy of participants as well as the collection of exceptional data.

The Analyst Core receives data primarily from Population Science research studies and analyzes it by using a broad range of statistical methods.

We work with Population Science and other ACS researchers to incorporate our analyses into their studies. We also prepare CPS data for, and manage, collaborations and data-sharing agreements with external researchers in order to expand our ability to conduct impactful research.

Key Terms
  • Statistical analysis: A series of methods used to explore and organize large amounts of data to discover patterns and trends. ACS researchers use statistical analyses to identify which risk factors affect the development of cancer and the quality of life after a cancer diagnosis.
  • Biospecimen: A sample of a biological material, such as blood, urine, tissue, cells, or stool collected from participants for research.
  • Biorepository: A facility that collects, catalogs, and stores samples of biological materials. The Cancer Prevention Studies biorepository includes blood, urine, buccal cells (from the inside of the cheek), cancer tissue, and stool.

Our Projects

The Study and Biospecimen team and Analyst Core provides support to many Population Science data collection and research initiatives, including our cancer prevention studies.