Nowadays emerging capabilities are being introduced into a more personalized molecular approach to medicine with individual risk assessment and best suited care. An important tool for translational research in this field is the large number of human archive tissues (AT), with any kind of diseases, stored in hospitals all over Europe. Tissues from biopsies or surgical therapy are fixed and paraffin embedded to obtain a histopathological diagnosis, and then stored in archives for many decades. We have already developed the technology that allows molecular research at the DNA, RNA and protein level in paraffin embedded tissues, so that the findings can be evaluated in their proper context. The European scientists have been the first to design these methods. In this way it is easy to study lesions with long follow-up, rare diseases, viral persistence or molecular pattern of lesions with known therapy outcomes. The IMPACTS group started its activity in 2005 during a meeting in Brussels. This activity was developed from 2007 to 2010 thanks to a European Coordination Action and it is being carried on today with multicentric projects and the organization of a European network of archive tissue biobanks.
The objectives of the group are: a) molecular method validation and standardization for AT; b) dissemination of standardized methods for functional genomics and proteomics at the European level with good practice rules; c) preparation of future perspectives at the clinical, research and technology level; d) establishment of tentative bioethics common guidelines for utilization of human archive tissues in multicentric research; e) availability of multicentric tissues banks for translational research; f) promotion of technology innovation and industrial collaboration.
The expected results of the Action will integrate European molecular research with a faster dissemination and application of molecular methods in clinical practice and will prepare the opportunity of new multicentric functional genomics research projects, stimulating technology innovation with industrial collaboration in the fields of gene expression analysis and proteomics.
The IMPACTS group is developing a Pan-European Network of archive tissue biobanks, on the basis of its experience.
The IMPACTS group has written the “Guidelines for Molecular Analysis in Archive Tissues”, published by Springer Verlag in July 2011, as a cookbook to help the diffusion of molecular analysis in fixed and paraffin-embedded tissues from pathology archives.
The IMPACTS group has organized the “Reverse Translational Research and Molecular Diagnostics” symposium, held on August 30, 2011 in Helsinki within the 23rd Congress of the European Society of Pathology, to start the discussion and to improve the application of BEDSIDE TO BENCH research in human pathology using archive tissues.