William G. Rohrer Charitable Foundation Awards Coriell $500,000 for Cancer Biobank


The William G. Rohrer Charitable Foundation has awarded the Coriell Institute for Medical Research $500,000 to develop the Coriell-Cooper Cancer Biobank, a new collection of biological samples derived from people undergoing treatment for cancer. The grant, structured for disbursement over five years, will allow for the acquisition of needed equipment and staff to support the creation and growth of this important collection.

“For more than a half-century, Coriell has led the world of biobanking science. With a growing team of scientists investigating cancer, its causes, and developing new treatments, we’re uniquely positioned to create an invaluable resource of biological specimens for the global cancer research community,” said Jean-Pierre Issa, MD, Coriell’s President and Chief Executive Officer.  “We are deeply grateful for the William G. Rohrer Charitable Foundation’s continued support as we develop our leading cancer research program.”

There is need to study cancers locally. Data from New Jersey shows the cancer-related mortality rate in Camden County is 155 out of 100,000 people, markedly above the overall state average of 133 out of 100,000. This novel biobank will prioritize the collection of samples from underrepresented minority residents of Camden City and Camden County to better understand this disparity, while establishing a resource which can be utilized to study cancers more generally as well.

In July of last year, Coriell announced the creation of the Camden Cancer Research Center, a multi-institution research program investigating cancer and its causes. In the CCRC, Coriell has partnered with Cooper University Health Care and Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, two of its Camden neighbors, to invest an initial $30 million in local cancer research over 10 years.

In September, the CCRC added two new research faculty members to its roster, Dr. Nora Engel and Dr. Shumei Song, experts in sexual dimorphism’s role in cancer risk and gastrointestinal cancers, respectively.

The William G. Roher Charitable Foundation is a longtime supporter of Coriell. In 2022, the foundation awarded Coriell $500,000 to support its cancer research efforts, a sum that allowed for the acquisition of laboratory equipment and the recruitment of expert faculty researchers. In 2014, the foundation awarded Coriell $1 million to support the Institute’s work with induced pluripotent stem cells, and Coriell’s cryogenic facility, where the world’s most diverse collection of biological samples is stored. 

About the Coriell Institute for Medical Research

The Coriell Institute for Medical Research is a globally-recognized leader in biobanking and biomedical research. Coriell is home to one of the world's most important biobanks which distributes biological samples and offers research and biobanking services to scientists around the world. Coriell is the trusted steward of world-renowned collections for the National Institutes of Health, disease foundations and commercial clients. Also a leader in genomic and epigenomic research, Coriell is uncovering the ways our genetic makeup affects our health, especially with regard to cancer, aging, and personalized medicine. Coriell leads or participates in several research partnerships, including the Camden Cancer Research Center and the Camden Opioid Research Initiative. For more information, visit www.coriell.org, like Coriell on Facebook, or follow @Coriell_Science on Twitter.

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