Biobanks have become an integral part of many state-of-the-art hospitals and cancer centres across the world. Biobanks are a useful research resource. They collect, process, store and subsequently provide tissues and cells (including blood and bone marrow) for ethically approved research studies.
This may be in the form of solid tumours (e.g. lymphoma or breast cancer), bone marrow and blood (e.g. leukaemia, myeloma) that is being collected in a routine biopsy or blood test.
Specially trained staff will provide you with full information regarding the biobank, obtain consent from you to store your tissue sample to be used for research in the future, collect and prepare the samples for storage as well as record some key, de-identified, clinical information about each donor and the corresponding sample(s).
The tissue samples and associated clinical data are important resources for scientists engaged in molecular research to develop better diagnostic tools and new drug therapies. Results from this type of research have been successful in recent times leading to the development of targeted therapies such as Imatinib (also known as Glivec, for chronic myeloid leukaemia) and Rituximab (also known as MabThera, for lymphoma) which have greatly improved the outcomes for patients with these conditions.