New tissue banks to standardise cancer samples

In collaboration with the Press Association

A new consortium of banks to store biological samples for cancer research has been announced at the National Cancer Research Institute Cancer Conference in Birmingham.

At present - and especially where rare cancers are concerned - it is difficult to answer some of the most pressing research questions using samples from a single bank, as the numbers available are too small.

Different banks may also use different methods to prepare and preserve material, meaning that consistency can be affected when using samples from multiple sources.

The Confederation of Cancer Biobanks (CCB) will work toward common standards and practices and tackle other issues affecting cancer research using human samples.

"The Confederation of Cancer Biobanks will greatly boost cancer research in the UK," said Dr Brian Clark, chief executive of founding member onCore UK.

It will lead, for the first time in this country, to the use of common standards for the custodianship of the precious cancer tissues that patients donate.

"Also, by providing access to larger numbers of high quality samples, the CCB will make possible many important research studies that have historically been difficult to carry out," Dr Clark added.

The CCB has been formed out of collaboration by Tayside Tissue Bank, the Glasgow Biobank, the Wales Cancer Bank and onCore UK.

Membership will be open to any institution that manages a cancer tissue bank and is willing to adopt the common standards and practices used by CCB members.