Lisa Rimsza, MD, to serve as the Southwest Regional Biorepository for the AIDS Cancer Specimen Resource Network

Lisa Rimsza, MD, was recently awarded $1.75 million over five years to serve as the Southwest Regional Biorepository for the AIDS Cancer Specimen Resource (ACSR) Network.

Dr. Rimza’s lab, the Arizona Lymphoma Repository (ALR), is collaborating with principal investigator Mike McGrath, MD, PhD, at the University of California – San Francisco to provide various tissues and samples for investigators throughout the world, including UCSF, George Washington University, Baylor University, as well as research offices in Uganda and South Africa.

“We’re thrilled to be a part of this international effort and help act as a resource for investigators doing important work, from basic science to clinical trials, in the field of HIV- and AIDS-related malignancies,” Dr. Rimsza said. She will also serve as the head of the project’s Science and Technology committee.

Dr. Rimsza, a University of Arizona Cancer Center member, is a professor of pathology with the UA College of Medicine and works as a diagnostic hematopathologist. In addition, she is the Director of Flow Cytometry, and the Director of the Molecular Genetic Pathology Fellowship at the University of Arizona Medical Center. She was also the most recent recipient of the Sydney E. Salmon, MD, Distinguished Investigator Award.

Dr. Rimsza’s extensive experience with tissue banking and provision of pathology, along with her lab’s technical services — including a full range of histologic, immuno-histochemical, tissue culture, and molecular profiling capabilities — will be vital to this project as it continues to move forward. The ALR began in 1983 and has been associated with the ACSR since 2009.

“Our lab has worked with Dr. McGrath on various projects in the past. After he took a tour of our lab, he invited us to be a part of this grant, thanks in large part to the wide array of lymphoma tissue samples we have, including some HIV-positive ones,” Dr. Rimsza said. “Lymphoma is often found in AIDS patients and cancer is becoming a leading cause of death in this population.”

Dr. Rimsza serves as the Chair of the Southwest Oncology Lymphoma Translational Medicine Subcommittee and works closely with the lymphoma physicians on new treatment strategies for patients. Her primary research focuses on the biology of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

The ACSR is a resource for investigators working in the fields of HIV/AIDS, cancer, virology, immunology, pathology, epidemiology, tumor biology assay development, and many others. It is a biorepository for HIV-infected human biospecimens from a wide spectrum of HIV-related or associated diseases, including cancer, and from appropriate HIV-negative controls.

The ACSR was established by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in 1994 to acquire, store, and equitably distribute tumor tissues, biological fluids, and associated clinical information from patients with HIV-associated malignancies to the scientific research community-at-large.

-May 20, 2014