Considering Tissue Donation?

Image of patient receiving biobank information

It's your choice!

Deciding to contribute to the biobank is a personal choice and has no influence on your treatment or care. Your health professional will take into consideration your medical condition and treatment before offering you the choice to participate but then it is up to you. There are no consequences for not participating.

The biobank stores biological specimens such as blood, genetic material and solid tissue for future medical research. The specimens are stored along with relevant clinical and health data that can be handed out to researchers who require many samples to do their work.

The HCB collects and stores:

The treatment for many cancers involves surgery where tumours are removed. Some of the tissue is examined by pathologists for diagnosis and treatment planning while the remainder is usually discarded. The HCB stores this excess tumour tissue as it is incredibly valuable to researchers tasked with developing better ways to prevent and treat cancer.

If you agree to donate excess tissue from a surgical procedure you will be provided with advice and further information and asked to sign a consent form. The Hunter Cancer Biobank will organise to collect and store the tissue for use by researchers. The biobank will only take what is not needed by pathologists for current or future diagnostic purposes.

Read the HCB information pamphlet (PDF 734KB)

Image of mixing of blood samples

Donors provide blood samples for the biobank at the same time as bloods taken for medical care. These samples are processed and stored in freezers to be used by researchers. Blood samples taken sequentially throughout a patient's cancer journey are very powerful for researchers to obtain a progressive picture of cancer behaviour.

If you are invited to participate in the sequential blood collection you will be asked to donate 20mls of blood up to six times per year. By signing the consent form you agree to the biobank following your progress and organising for these extra blood samples to be taken and stored for research. You will be provided with a Patient Information package and introduced to the Biobank Liaison Officer who will assist with answering questions and obtaining the samples.

Read more about the Sequential Blood Collection

SBC Liaison Officer

Bianca Bartlett has been appointed to assist with collecting samples for the Sequential Blood Collection study. Her role is to ensure patients are informed about donating multiple samples and keeping track of when the best time is to collect those samples.

If you would like to contact Bianca her details are:

E: bianca.bartlett@newcastle.edu.au

P: 0437 430 454

She is ready to answer any questions or direct you to where the answers might be.

Why Participate?

 

Research is the only way to learn new things about cancer prevention, treatment and cure but research requires many tissue samples to be effective and provide benefit to the most people possible. The more people who donate the more samples will be available and the closer we will get to a cure.

Although the research may not be of direct benefit to you personally this is a way to make a difference in the overall fight against cancer. Biobanked samples are available for research well into the future as new technologies and advancements become available.

The risks are very minor! If you give permission for excess tissue to be banked then there are no additional risks as we only bank the tissue that has already been removed as part of your surgical procedure and is not required for diagnosis. If you are donating blood samples these are taken at the same time as you have blood taken for your treatment and care so there are no extra needles or discomfort but we will take a little extra blood from you (about 1 tablespoon).

Your health and safety are our number one concerns and donation is entirely voluntary. If at any time you don't want a sample taken you just have to tell the health professional in charge of your care.

The HCB is committed to ensuring that the collection of tissue samples does not interfere with patient care and that the privacy and confidentiality of all donors are maintained. Every staff member is trained to follow proper procedures when dealing with patient confidentiality.  All identifying patient information is stored in a secure manner within the HCB and only de-identified information is provided to researchers.

No researcher will be able to use any stored tissue or blood for any purpose unless they have separate, specific approval of the Human Research Ethics Committee for that particular project. This means that a committee, independent of the researchers, will decide whether the requested use of the tissue or blood is appropriate.