Rapid Autopsy Program (RAP)
The Rapid Autopsy Pancreatic Program (RAPP) was established at UNMC in 2002 for the purpose of harvesting organs and selected tissue samples from consented patients who die of pancreatic cancer, primarily adenocarcinoma. The purpose of the "rapid" autopsy is to obtain tissue as quickly as possible (within 1-3 hours after death), thus minimizing postmortem degradation (particularly RNA). Between 9 and 15 rapid pancreatic autopsies are anticipated at UNMC per year. To date, we have performed 117 rapid autopsies and have collected over 125,000 grams of specimens from tumors and adjacent non-involved tissues.
Briefly, the pathologist and pathology assistant procure the tissues during the trunk only autopsy. A volunteer team, consisting of research laboratory personnel, immediately annotates, sections, and freezes the specimens to be used for subsequent studies.
The rapid autopsy program provides a unique collection of specimens to be used to further the research of pancreatic cancer. Hundreds of samples have been sent to other SPORES and Centers for DNA, RNA, and protein expression studies; our laboratory currently has several ongoing studies utilizing specimens from these autopsies.
The autopsy itself provides a rare look at the disease process and conveys the complexity and mortality of pancreatic cancer.
The availability of tissue from primary and metastatic pancreatic malignancies is a unique and valuable resource that is available, through the UNMC Tissue Bank, to investigators with meritorious and feasible projects.
For more information on the Rapid Autopsy Pancreatic Program, please contact Paul Grandgenett, PhD.
H&E slides from different rapid autopsies demonstrating variation of pancreatic cancer.