Tissue banking

Tissue banks (also known as tumour banks) are a useful research resource.  They collect, process, store and subsequently provide cancerous tissues and cells (including blood and bone marrow) for ethically approved research studies.  This may be in the form of solid tumours (e.g. lymphoma or breast cancer), bone marrow and blood (e.g. leukaemia, myeloma) that is being collected in a routine biopsy or blood test.  

Specially trained medical professionals will provide you with full information regarding the tissue bank, obtain informed consent, collect and prepare the samples for storage as well as record comprehensive, de-identified, clinical information about each donor and the corresponding sample(s). Tissue banks have become an integral part of many state-of-the-art hospitals and cancer centres across the world.

The tumour samples and associated clinical data are important resources for scientists engaged in molecular research to develop better diagnostic tools and new drug therapies. Results from this type of research have been successful in recent times leading to the development of targeted therapies such as  Imatinib (also known as Glivec, for chronic myeloid leukaemia) and Rituximab (also known as MabThera, for lymphoma) which have greatly improved the outcomes for patients with these conditions.  


The Middlemore Tissue Bank - Auckland

In June 2009 the Centre for Clinical Research and effective practice (CCRep) officially launched the Middlemore Tissue Bank (MTB) and began the journey of creating a comprehensive tissue bank at Middlemore Hospital in Auckland.  The MTB will potentially serve the North Island of New Zealand and will collaborate closely with the Cancer Society Tissue Bank in Christchurch.

Building upon the enthusiastic support of Auckland’s clinical and academic community the team will seek collaborations with NZ’s academic, research and public health institutions. The Middlemore Tissue Bank looks forward to supporting cutting-edge research projects which will deliver real benefits to NZ’s unique patient population with its diverse ethnicities.

Middlemore Tissue Bank reaches important milestone

Read article from the Autumn 2011 LifeBlood newsletter from the Leukaemia & Blood Foundation here.

Middlemore to set up tissue bank

Read article from the Autumn 2010 LifeBlood newsletter from the Leukaemia & Blood Foundation here.


The Cancer Society Tissue Bank – Christchurch

 This tissue bank was established in 1996 by a group of scientists and clinicians from Christchurch Hospital and the University of Otago, Christchurch Medical School. This group recognised the importance of using human cancer tissues for research and the need for a collection, storage, use and disposal process, that guaranteed patients privacy and confidentiality.

The bank is a collaboration between the Cancer Society of New Zealand, the Canterbury District Health Board and the University of Otago, Christchurch.  To date, 5,000 patients have become donors representing all ethnicities.  A number of donors have donated samples multiple times over the course of their disease and treatment.  

Samples are sent to researchers throughout New Zealand after approval from ethics and the Tissue Bank Board.  The complex set of samples required to answer some research questions can only be achieved by using samples already stored in the tissue bank.  In this way the Cancer Society Tissue Bank helps to ensure that New Zealand cancer researchers using our resource maintain their international competitiveness.


For more information or to enquire about contributing to a tissue bank in New Zealand, please speak to your treating doctor or contact the Leukaemia & Blood Foundation.