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.

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 or blood where cancer has spread.


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.

Everlasting Gift Program for Pancreatic Cancer Patients

The Everlasting Gift program at Karmanos Cancer Institute is a beacon of hope that empowers pancreatic cancer patients in their final stages. Everlasting Gift is a rapid tissue donation program that carefully coordinates collecting, annotating, and preserving postmortem tumor and normal tissue samples. Collaborating closely with the research community at Karmanos and Wayne State University, the Everlasting Gift team utilizes these gifted tissue donations to determine how pancreatic cancer cells spread to other organs. For patients 18 years or older who were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer or a neuroendocrine tumor of the pancreas, consider the Everlasting Gift Program, designed specifically for pancreatic cancer research. For more information, contact 313-578-4200 or email EverlastingGift@karmanos.org.

Frequently Asked Questions

View All

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

The Latest From Karmanos Cancer Institute


Free Fitness Classes Now Available for Female Cancer Survivors and Those At-risk in Dearborn Heights

Click here to read in Arabic. The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute is partnering with Wayne State University (WSU) School of Medicine and HYP...

Read More

Karmanos, McLaren’s 12th Pink Out the Park with Detroit Tigers Inspires Sea of Pink at Comerica Park

The Annual Pink Out the Park, a partnership between the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute , the Detroit Tigers and McLaren Health Care, the of...

Read More

Every Step of the Way: Support Resources for Our Cancer Survivors

June is recognized yearly as National Cancer Survivors Month, an important time to recognize the strength and perseverance of cancer survivors wor...

Read More

97.1 The Ticket | Pink Out the Park

Listen Now

WWJ | Genetic Counselor Available to Speak with at Screening Saves Lives Event on June 8

Listen Now

WWJ | Screening Saves Lives Event Gives Participants Opportunity to Talk to Genetic Counselor

Listen Now