A Biobank (or Tissue Bank) is a collection of many samples of tissue and blood that have come from patients or the public and are being stored for use in future medical research. In the case of cancer, researchers can use tissue and blood to find out why tumours start, how they spread, and how they respond to treatment.
As the need for tissue grows the number of biobanks has also seen a rise. Currently we estimate that there could be as many as 200 different tissue collections in the UK that contain cancer samples alone. These include not just biobanks but also collections created as part of cancer clinical trials.
Confederation of Cancer Biobanks
The Confederation of Cancer Biobanks (CCB) is a consortium of organisations based in the UK that are involved in the development, management and use of Biobank resources for cancer research. It was established to help coordinate cancer biobanking in the UK.
The Confederation aims to promote and disseminate a collective view on best practices for biobanks and to promote transfer of knowledge and experiences between banks. While individual banks retain their full autonomy, the Confederation’s vision is to work towards a seamless operation so that sample users experience what appears to be a single virtual biobank for the collection and distribution of biosamples for cancer research.