Legacy Program

Legacy Program

The Karmanos Legacy Program was born from a need to improve the understanding of why and how cancers spread. The Legacy program will allow physicians and researchers to study the pathways cancer takes throughout the body, exploring one patient at a time.

The Karmanos Legacy Program is funded by the Prostate Cancer Foundation and a generous Karmanos patient donor.

Anatomical material

The Karmanos Legacy Program aims to collect, process, annotate, and store biospecimens from deceased cancer patients for future research. Researchers will collect specimens from cancer patients at autopsy that may include tissue where cancer has spread and blood.


While personalized or precision medicine continues to evolve rapidly, clinicians and scientists must have access to biological samples from patients with all types of cancers. A barrier in understanding how and why cancer spreads is the shortage of corresponding samples from both primary and metastatic body sites of individual patients. The Karmanos Legacy Program intends to fill this gap and provide researchers with much needed corresponding tissue. While Karmanos Cancer Institute currently has an existing biobank, expanding our biospecimen collection to recently deceased cancer patients who undergo autopsy will allow us to obtain tissue from multiple organ sites in the body from a single patient. Collecting, curating, and sharing these specimens with researchers will allow them to better understand the molecular mechanisms of cancer resistance and metastasis.


All patients with metastatic cancer treated at Karmanos Cancer Institute will be eligible to participate. Please speak with your medical oncologist if you are interested.

Donor Protections

All specimens collected will be de-identified and not traceable by researchers to the deceased patient or their family.

Procedure at Time of Death

The autopsy must be performed within two hours after death to maintain the quality of the biospecimens. Family members of the patient will have time to grieve at the patient’s bedside before the procedure. Karmanos will execute the previously arranged plans with the designated funeral home immediately following the autopsy. The patient’s body will be respected and presentable following the procedure.

Frequently Asked Questions

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