How Biobanks WORK

A biobank (“bank of life”) is a place – typically an ultralow temperature freezer – that stores blood and other human tissue samples donated by patients for research in cancer or other serious diseases. It is maintained by specialist personnel, and data is coded for the patient’s privacy and confidentiality, and recorded in a database. Clinical data, including treatment and follow-up, may be linked subsequently.

The patient’s cancer operation specimen – cancer and surrounding normal tissue – is examined by a Histopathologist. The pathological diagnosis and full pathological assessment of the tumour’s aggressiveness and extent determine the patient’s further treatment. Providing the patient has consented, small fragments of cancer and normal tissue, surplus to pathology requirements, may be coded, frozen and stored in the biobank. Samples are released for ethical, scientifically approved research on how cancers develop, grow, spread and respond to treatment.

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