For researchers

The Hunter Cancer Biobank (HCB) currently holds over 12 000 tissue specimens from more than 4 500 patients. The HCB operates to national and international standards. All HCB tissue specimens are validated against original pathological diagnoses to confirm accuracy and assure quality. All tissue validation is performed by HCB's own in-house anatomical pathologist. 

To learn more about our collection including how to obtain samples please explore the links below.

The Hunter Cancer Biobank (HCB) holds a large collection of formalin-fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) tissues. Samples are primarily collected from private and public patients receiving care across the Hunter region.The chart below provides a snapshot of the collection showing the range of specimens HCB currently holds.

Pie chart showing specimens in HCB by tumour type

Full list of biospecimens

When accessing the HCB for research specimens you can expect the following:


Tissue blocks selected and sections prepared according to your project's specific requirements.


Biospecimens that are validated by our in-house anatomical pathologist to ensure quality


Specific clinical data linked to available biospecimens on request.

Accessing samples from the Hunter Cancer Biobank involves three steps :

Image of Sarah Nielsen and Rick Thorne

Step 1

Direct an enquiry to HCB staff

Please prepare an information brief about your project to assist HCB staff in assessing your requirements.This should include:

- what types of samples and how many;
- what linked clinical data you require;
- any other details relevant to your project

Email this to

HCB will review the enquiry and establish a dialogue with the researchers involved. Providing complete and accurate information will ensure that the HCB team can identify the correct resources to support your project.

Step 2

Make a Formal Application

Once the HCB has confirmed that resources are available to support your project you must lodge a formal application using the application form.

HCB Application Form 

The application data required includes a project title, lead investigators, other investigators, a project description (including a lay summary) and questions about ethics and safety.

Once the application form has been completed it should be emailed to

Once received the application form will be reviewed by members of the management committee for scientific merit. Ensuring samples are used appropriately for research enables HCB to operate to national and international standards for biobanking.

Step 3

Delivery of Samples

Once your project has been approved HCB will then commence work preparing samples. HCB staff will notify you when works are completed and organise distribution. Specimen validation data and linked clinical data will be provided to you electronically.

HCB does not charge for accessing biospecimens used for research. However, charges are applied to consumables, services and delivery applicable to a request for research samples. These include for example, microscope slides, slide boxes and other direct consumable costs required to prepare your samples and freight if required.

An estimate of these costs will be provided upon initial application followed by a quote when your project has been approved by the committee. This quote must be accepted before HCB staff can commence work on your project.


HCB also offers a full range of additional services to help with your project. This involves everything from sample preparation through to imaging and image analysis. Please go to OUR SERVICES for more details.

The University of Newcastle, Australia Hunter New England Local Health District Calvary Mater Newcastle Hunter Medical Research Institute Cancer Institute NSW Pathology North