Linkage of Cancer Biobanks and Registries to Understand COVID-19 Pathogenesis

illustration of connected web of light points

The Masonic Cancer Center (MCC) maintains several biobanks and registries that contain unique information on patients treated at the center. Many of these biobanks contain immune monitoring data and may provide important information on who is susceptible to developing severe sequelae from COVID-19. Currently, Best Practices Integrated Informatics Core is building a COVID-19 master database that will have standardized variables extracted from the EMR for research use.  

Heather Nelson, PhD, MPH, from MCC is leading a project that will link MCC Biobanks and Registries to a master COVID-19 database to:

  • ascertain what pre-COVID-19 traits are associated with COVID-19 symptoms, testing, and clinical outcomes
  • identify patients for future participation in post-COVID immune monitoring.

“There is a pressing need to identify the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 and development of COVID-19,” said Nelson. “The project will allow us to ask unique questions regarding COVID-19 susceptibility and pathogenesis among those with a cancer diagnosis, including those currently in treatment. In addition, this linkage will allow us to test novel hypotheses utilizing pre-COVID-19 banked specimens with the potential for future analysis of matched biospecimens taken post-pandemic.”


This project is supported by the UMN Campus Public Health Officer's CO:VID (Collaborative Outcomes: Visionary Innovation & Discovery) grants program, which support University of Minnesota faculty to catalyze and energize small-scale research projects designed to address and mitigate the COVID-19 virus and its associated risks.