Beginning in the 1970s, Donald L. Morton, MD, began collecting specimens and clinical data for his patients, first at UCLA and then continuing here at the John Wayne Cancer Institute (JWCI) at Providence Saint John’s Health Center (PSJHC).
JWCI maintains a unique bank of frozen or paraffin-embedded melanoma specimens collected since 1971. This specimen repository is linked to our historical database, an information system that was begun in 1971 by Dr. Donald Morton and Dr. Robert Elashoff, and now contains records for more than 15,000 melanoma patients.
The specimen repository includes sera, lymphocytes and tumor cells, tumor tissues and normal tissues, and cell lines. There are more than a million vials of sera and almost 150,000 vials of lymphocytes for cellular assays. Serial serum samples obtained from patients during regular clinic visits or according to multicenter trial protocols enable the immediate study of the relationship of tumor markers to the course of disease. Many specimens are linked to extended follow-up data and clinical outcomes, making them invaluable for correlative studies. The annotated specimen bank and electronic clinical database are used in tandem for prospective and retrospective investigations of prognosis, recurrence, and tumor biology. All specimens and linked data are coded to preserve donor confidentiality.