A Tumour Bank is an infrastructure (laboratory, equipment, personnel) within a healthcare institution dedicated to the collection and storage of human bio-specimens: cells, tissues, blood samples and other biological material, which can be used for biological analyses to better characterise each patient’s pathological condition.
to store bio-specimens in the best possible conditions as recommended by the Health Ministry;
to allow these samples to become:
- in the first instance, a valuable source of informations useful for diagnosis or choice of treatment for the patient who underwent the biopsy;
- subsequently, a resource available to researchers and clinicians for scientific research programmes in order to advance their understanding of the molecular mechanisms implied in cancer. This knowledge will open exciting avenues for the development of diagnostic and prognostic tools and for the identification of new therapeutic protocols.
The specimens are taken during surgical intervention, puncture, or biopsy performed as part of the treatment planned for that patient. These specimens are mainly and in first place analysed in the interest of the patient. Once all these investigations have been carried out, what is left of the specimen can be requalified as « biological specimen for research », if the patient has not raised any objections after being informed about this procedure (cf french procedures).
In certain specific cases (i.e., biomedical and genetic studies) the use of human samples is submitted to obtaining an informed written consent from the patient.
This inventory brings together accurate and updated clinical and biological information concerning each specimen of the virtual bank. These data respect the need of confidentiality of the concerned people and are strictly anonymous in conformity with the CNIL recommendations (National Commission for Information Technology and Civil Liberties), in accordance with the French law of the 6 January 1978, modified on the 6 August 2004, known as the "Informatics and Freedom" law concerning computer files and civil liberties and with article 43 of the French law of the 30 September 1986.
This inventory allows clinical and basic researchers to easily and quickly identify the biological specimens which may be of use in their cancer research programmes upon condition that the patient’s non opposition had been collected before their reclassification as human bio-specimens for research.
The patient is a key player. Tumour banks exist thanks to and for the patients. In order to expand, they need to have access to more samples and relevant medical data which will be rendered anonymous to maintain patients’ confidentiality. Therefore, it is crucial that patients and more generally each of us understand the value of the scientific research they will contribute to by consenting to the scientific use of their biological specimens and medical data. Your participation to the diffusion of this information and your consent are important.