World's first breast cancer tissue bank

March 22, 2011 By Emma Thorne

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new tissue bank that will help to overcome barriers in translating the latest research into new clinical treatments for breast cancer has been launched in Nottingham.

The city is one of a coalition of centres making up the new multi-million pound Campaign Tissue Bank and will be headed up by a partnership of experts from The University of Nottingham and Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Together with three other sites around the UK, the local centre led by Professor Ian Ellis and Dr. Andy Green, of the University’s School of Molecular Medical Sciences, the new Nottingham facility will form the world’s first large scale collection of breast tissue samples.

Dr. Andy Green said: “We are thrilled to be part of the world’s first breast cancer tissue bank funded by Breast Cancer Campaign. This is an extremely important initiative and resource allowing access of tissue samples to researchers which will expedite our understanding and knowledge of this prevalent disease ultimately leading to improvements in breast cancer treatment.”

Historically, access to suitable materials for research has been completely dependent on scientists’ locations and contacts. This new resource will offer anonymous information about a patient, the characteristics of their cancer, family history, treatments and, over time, their effectiveness. They will also be able to see whether their disease progresses or recurs.

The facility should help to ensure that research is fast-tracked from bench to bedside, leading to better prevention, earlier diagnosis and improved treatments which could potentially save the lives of many thousands of people.

The Tissue Bank, expected to cost £10 million over the next five years, has received a huge boost to its funding through Asda’s £1 million Tickled Pink campaign and a £1 million grant from breast cancer charity Walk the Walk.

The Nottingham centre is one of four facilities, the others being based at the University of Dundee, University of Leeds and the Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London.

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