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BioSpecimen Bank

In our research centers at the Institute, as well as Royal Prince Alfred, Westmead and Newcastle Hospitals, we continue to study the genetic and molecular determinates of melanoma.  By collecting and analysing specimens through the BioSpecimen bank, we are contributing to this effort. We hope to identify scientific genes or molecules involved in the disease and to find out more about how melanoma progresses at the molecular level. Once we unlock this mystery we will be one step closer to a cure for this often fatal disease.

Melanoma BioSpecimen Bank at a glance

  • A collection of blood and tissue samples taken from people diagnosed with melanoma.
  • Used to understand tumour biology to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of melanoma.
  • Contains more than 2,600 tissue samples, and 4,400 blood specimens.
  • Samples are collected and stored at multiple sites in NSW with the aim of building links throughout Australia.
  • Tissue samples are stored at -180C.

The BioSpecimen Bank is a collection of samples of tissue as well as blood, taken from people diagnosed with melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. It also contains some information about the health and treatment of these donors. Samples and information are made available from the Bank for research into melanoma and skin cancer including its causes, development, diagnosis and treatment. The overall aim of the Bank is to improve our ability to manage skin cancer in the future. The Melanoma Institute Australia BioSpecimen Bank is supported by funds from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC) and the Cancer Institute NSW.

The BioSpecimen Bank underpins much of the Institute's research, including the Melanoma Genome Project.

The aim of the Bank is to build up a large collection of melanoma and skin cancer specimens, blood samples and information about people with skin cancer that can be used for future research. Researchers from within Australia or even overseas can apply to the Bank for materials and information to use in a skin cancer research project. Before the tissue is provided it will be labelled with a unique number. Researchers will not receive any identifying information about individual patients.

Normally, when surgery to remove skin cancer is performed, the tissue removed is examined by a Pathologist who prepares a report that is used to plan future treatment. Only a proportion of the tissue removed is required for this process. The remainder is either stored in wax blocks in the Pathology Department or it is discarded.  If a patient decides to participate in the Bank it is this extra tissue that would be used for research projects.

All projects that use samples or information from the Bank must first be reviewed by a Human Research Ethics Committee and be considered worthwhile, having considered the interests of the donors to the Bank. Because information and material stored in the Bank are collected for future research, it is not possible to say exactly which projects specimens may be used for. However, only projects that investigate skin cancer are supported.

If you would like to speak to a staff member about the BioSpecimen Bank, please phone Valerie Jakrot, Project Manager, on Tel: 02 9911 7346.


 

 

 

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