Kathleen Phillips, Tumour Bank Officer
The Kolling Institute Tumour Banks are a government and philanthropically funded collection of ethically consented human biospecimens that are stored and distributed for use in cancer and tumour research.
The Kolling Tumour Banks are comprised of the Breast Bank, Gynaecological Bank, Upper Gastrointestinal Bank and Neuroendocrine Bank. These banks contain tumour (and sometimes adjacent normal) tissue, blood and clinical information, collected with informed consent from patients undergoing surgery for the removal of tumour tissue. In addition, we house a Healthy Volunteers serum and EDTA whole blood bank and we are also a collection site for the Australian Breast Cancer Tissue Bank, based at the Westmead Millenium Institute.
Tumour banking is a multi-disciplinary endeavour, relying on the co-operation of surgeons, pathologists, tumour bank staff, clinicians, clinical nurse consultants and operating theatre staff to ensure our donor consent and specimen collection processes meet the highest quality standards.
Informed consent is first obtained from patients prior to surgery. On the day of surgery, blood is collected prior to the induction of anaesthesia, and a small sample of tumour tissue is removed by the surgeon. This tissue is snap frozen in liquid nitrogen within 30 minutes of collection where possible. Samples are then coded with a unique number to protect patient privacy and processed.
All samples are then stored indefinitely in either our -80ºC freezers or a liquid nitrogen vapour phase tank. Information is then entered and stored in password protected databases that are housed on a secure server. Collections are carried out at the Royal North Shore Hospital, North Shore Private Hospital, and the Mater Hospital, North Sydney, with approval from relevant Human Research Ethics Committees (HRECs).
In recent years many projects have accessed bank specimens and research findings have been published in more than 40 journal papers.
Our collections are invaluable to cancer research. We provide researchers at the Kolling Institute and other national and international collaborating institutions with high-quality samples, collected and stored in accordance with world best practice guidelines. We facilitate research into the molecular biology and genetics of tumours and cancer, thereby leading to better diagnostic tools and therapeutic outcomes for patients.