Michigan Legacy Tissue Program to Expand Patient Contribution and Clinical Research

By Elizabeth Walker | August 15 2017

Under the Direction of Dr. Rohit Mehra, of Pathology, and Dr. Ajjai Alva, of Medical Oncology, the Rapid Autopsy Program has been expanded and renamed the Michigan Legacy Tissue Program (MLTP). Originally started by Dr. Arul Chinnaiyan and Dr. Kenneth Pienta in 1996, the Rapid Autopsy Program was formed to retrieve metastatic prostate tumors for molecular study. This program continues to thrive with current input and collaboration from Dr. Jeffrey Jentzen and colleagues in Autopsy and Forensic Services. 

Molecular study of metastatic cancers is difficult because most patients with widely disseminated disease never undergo tumor resection. Performing a rapid autopsy within three hours of death allows for documentation of the distribution of metastases, harvesting of both tumor and normal control tissue for molecular examination, and more. The MLTP continues to collect prostate tissue but now includes other genitourinary cancers, as well as non-genitourinary malignancies.

The MLTP team includes members from the Department of Pathology and Michigan Center for Translational Pathology, as well as Dr. Daniel Spratt and other colleagues in Radiation Oncology, Medical Oncology, Urology, Palliative Medicine, Social Work, and other departments.

The MLTP is not possible without the participation of patients and their families. The medical team is indebted to them for their contributions that allow the advancement of medicine. The program allows patients to have a lasting impact on the lives of future patients by participating in groundbreaking clinical cancer research.

For more information, or to participate in the program, contact Dr. Rohit Mehra, MLTP Co-Director, at . You can also contact Trisha Pyzik, MLTP Administrative Coordinator, at