A biobank collects samples (tissue, blood or other bodily fluids) and healthcare data (information in your hospital chart such as details about your condition, test results, images/scans) donated by people for health research.
These biobanks work with researchers who use samples and data to learn more about different diseases, helping them to understand the disease better, develop better diagnostic tests, treatments and a better quality of life for people living with a disease. Having samples available in a biobank for health research can help speed up the process of research and enable treatments and tests to be available quicker. All research studies need approval to ensure they are carried out ethically and safely, your rights are protected and the study complies with data protection regulations.
Information that might identify you is removed and replaced with a unique code in the biobank. This code is used instead of your name, address, date of birth, hospital number and so on.
You may be invited to take part in a biobank and the decision is completely voluntary. Samples are only taken with the patient’s written consent and a decision not to join the biobank will not impact on the patient’s treatment in any way.
Graphic design by Rachel Lynch (rachellynch.net) was kindly sponsored by HRB/IRC TCD PPI IGNITE
Researchers may work with other universities, hospitals or health-related companies (businesses that develop new diagnostic tests, treatments, medicines, medical devices, for money, in Ireland or abroad, so that their work will have a wider impact or so that they can avail of other technologies that will lead to better tests and treatments.
Your sample and data may be shared with other researchers; however, your identity will not be shared as your details will have been given a unique code. Examples of collaborations may include other universities or hospitals in Ireland such as University College Dublin or University Hospital Galway. Details of current collaborations are given in our annual newsletter.
Researchers publish their overall findings in scientific/medical journals or present them at conferences so that others can learn from the research. You will not be identified in any journals or presentations. The biobank hopes these results will improve health care for future patients.
Many charities across the country work closely with the research groups and in some cases help to fund the work of the biobank. These are detailed in the relevant biobank.
To contribute to this biobank, you must already be a patient of St James’s Hospital. Ask your doctor for more information..
Dr Richard Flavin, Professor Elizabeth Connolly, Professor John Kennedy, Dr Terry Boyle, Dr Dhafir Al-azawi, Katrina O’Connor and Delia Flannery.
We are the St James’s Hospital Histopathology biobank (SJHHB), a non-profit biorepository for breast and colon cancer. We biobank tumour and normal samples which are used in ethically approved cancer research studies. Tissue samples and pathology data are collected from consenting patients. Samples are stored as frozen samples in a freezer at -80 degrees celsius or at room temperature and embedded in wax. We also work with Professor Elizabeth Connolly, Breast Surgeon, and Dr Sarah McGarrigle who collect blood samples from breast cancer patients and women at increased risk of developing breast cancer.
Patient data is stored in a highly secure Biobank Information Management System (BIMS). SJHHB is a custodian of the pathology diagnostic archive.
SJHHB is partially funded by Biobank Ireland Trust who fund; freezers, consumables and personnel. Biobanks are important because they facilitate research which can lead to better diagnosis, targeted treatments, and personalised medicine for patients. To find out more about biobanks visit: www.biobankireland.com.
Dr Blánaid Mee
Sarah McGarrigle (blood samples)
Professor Paul Browne, Professor Elisabeth Vandenberghe, Dr Eibhlin Conneally, Dr Catherine Flynn, Dr Patrick Hayden, and Dr Larry Bacon.
Blood Cancer Biobank
The Trinity/St James’s Hospital Blood Cancer Biobank collects samples from patients with blood cancers. These cancers, which are also called haematological malignancies, effect the blood, bone marrow and/or lymph nodes. Consultant haematologists may ask blood cancer patients in the hospital to consider donating blood, bone marrow and/or lymph node tissue samples to the Biobank. Samples for the Biobank are taken during the patient’s routine blood or bone marrow test or a lymph node biopsy. No extra procedures are carried out to take these samples.
The Blood Cancer Biobank works with the Blood Cancer Network Ireland which are collecting samples from patients in other hospitals in Ireland
Dr Tony McElligott
Professor John Reynolds, Dr David Kevans.
Gastrointestinal Cancer Biobank
The Gastrointestinal Cancer Biobank collects specimens from patients with cancer or pre-cancerous growths or inflammation of the intestine. We are interested in studying how cancer develops in the upper intestines, for example, in the oesophagus or the stomach, and lower intestines, for example, the bowel or rectum.
As well as cancer, we are also interested in studying conditions and risk factors which are linked to development of cancer, such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Barrett’s oesophagus, or obesity. By studying the early stages of cancer development, we aim to find how healthy tissue sometimes becomes cancerous. Patients respond differently to cancer treatments, and we also are studying the reasons behind this. These collections were established in 2004 to facilitate translational cancer research by researchers at Trinity College Dublin and St James’s Hospital. We also work with the St James’s Hospital Clinical Research Facility, where clinical trials are run.
Professor Noreen Gleeson, Professor John O’Leary, Dr Feras Abu Saadeh, Dr Waseem Kamran, Dr Tom D’Arcy, Dr Dearbhaile O’Donnell and Dr Charles Gillham.
Gynaecological Cancer Biobank
The Gynaecological Disease Research Biobank was set up in 2004 to support research between Trinity College Dublin and St James’s Hospital. Patients attending the gynaecology service who are scheduled for surgery and/or chemotherapy may be invited by their doctor to sign a consent form to donate samples to the biobank.
The biobank collects samples from all the gynaecological cancers and also from non-cancer patients; these include ovarian cancer and benign ovarian disease, endometrial cancer and benign endometrial disease, cervical cancer, vulva cancer and vaginal cancer. The biobank stores bloods, excess tissue from surgery, urine and ascites fluid (fluid produced by some ovarian cancers). The research focuses on developing new tests and better treatments for cancer.
The research group are based in the laboratories in the Trinity Translational Medicine Institute at St James’s Hospital. We also have a research group based in the Coombe Women’s and Infants University Hospital called Cerviva who collect cervical smears for research to enable more efficient screening services.
Dr Sinead Cuffe, Dr Stephen Finn, Mr Ronan Ryan, Mr Gerard Fitzmaurice, Mr Vincent Young, Dr Finbarr O’Connell and Dr Siobhan Nicholson.
Lung Cancer Biobank
In October 2004, the Lung Cancer Biobank was established at St James's Hospital. All lung biobank activities are carried out in the Thoracic Oncology Research Group, which is based in the Trinity Translational Medicine Institute on the hospital campus.
Patients who are undergoing investigation or treatment for lung cancer are invited to contribute to the biobank and consent to donating their tissue or blood sample to the biobank for research. This vital collection of biological samples from patients allows researchers to study and add further knowledge to our understanding of the factors that drive lung tumour growth, to develop new diagnostic tests, in addition to identifying new tumour or blood markers that may predict which patients are most likely to respond to specific treatments. Furthermore, understanding the early events that lead to the development of lung cancer may be informative as to what preventative strategies are likely to succeed in the future.