Breast Cancer Campaign today revealed The Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary, University of London, as one of the key locations of the world’s first national breast cancer tissue bank.
Professor Louise Jones, who will head up a dedicated team at Barts, today met with Shadow Minister for Health, Emily Thornberry, and told her how this ground breaking initiative will see four centres around the UK working together as one national resource to house the multi-million pound Breast Cancer Campaign Tissue Bank. The other sites are located at the University of Leeds, University of Nottingham and University of Dundee.
This coalition of centres will store breast tissue samples, donated by patients throughout the country, safely and consistently and will be available to scientists whatever their location in the UK and Ireland. Currently there is no such large resource of breast tissue like this available to scientists and doctors anywhere in the world.
Historically, access to suitable materials for research has been completely dependent on a scientists’ location and contacts, says Breast Cancer Campaign. The result is a major barrier to translating research into potential new treatments and, in the long term, saving lives.
From tissue samples researchers will be able to glean vital, but anonymous, information about the patient, the characteristics of their cancer, family history, treatments, and, over time, their effectiveness, and whether the disease progresses or recurs.
Professor Louise Jones said, “The importance of the Breast Cancer Campaign Tissue Bank to both scientists and people with breast cancer cannot be underestimated. This Tissue Bank will provide breast cancer scientists with a source of human breast tissue that they have never had access to before. I am so grateful to all the women who have agreed to donate their tissue which I believe it will revolutionise breast cancer research.”
The Tissue Bank, expected to cost £10 million over the next five years, has received a massive boost to its funding. Asda’s Tickled Pink has raised over £1 million in 2010 through its colleagues and customers, as part of its ongoing commitment to this vital initiative. In addition, a grant of £1 million from breast cancer charity Walk the Walk has recently been awarded to the Tissue Bank as part of its long-term support of breast cancer causes.
Emily Thornberry, Shadow Minister for Health with responsibility for cancer services said, “This is a very exciting project which I hope will make a significant difference to the lives of the thousands of people who are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the UK.”