Cancer research is dependent on the availability of high-quality cancer specimens, to use in laboratory-based investigations.
What is a Tumour Bank?
A Tumour Bank is a collection of specimens from patients, obtained with their consent and through the normal course of their treatment. These samples are placed in long-term storage and made available to research scientists for studies into cancer.
In NSW, there are two child cancer Tumour Banks – one at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, and one at the Children’s Cancer Institute . Both of these organisations are partners in the Kids Cancer Alliance.
(For information about other Tumour Banks in NSW, see http://cancerbiobanksnsw.org)
What are the child cancer Tumour Banks used for?
Our Tumour Banks provide specimens for many different research groups, locally, nationally and internationally. By providing samples to researchers, the Tumour Banks help to:
What do the Tumour Banks contain?
The Tumour Banks contain a diverse selection of high-quality malignant and non-malignant tissue specimens, along with clinical data obtained by dedicated tumour bank staff that follow strict procedures and ethical guidelines.
The collections include:
How are samples collected and stored?
Samples contributed by a patient (for example, during the course of a biopsy) are transferred to special low-temperature cryogenic vials and immediately snap-frozen in liquid nitrogen. This process preserves the proteins and genetic material within the sample. Once frozen, the samples are coded, placed in numbered boxes, and stored in a freezer at -80ºC.
Each sample is recorded on the Tumour Bank database. Information recorded includes:
The child’s name does not appear on the sample. The child and family remain entirely anonymous to all researchers who use Tumour Bank specimens. However, if the findings of the research are deemed likely to help with a child’s treatment, the coding on each sample enables Tumour Bank staff to forward the relevant results to the doctor caring for that child.