‘Leeds named as site of new multi-million pound breast cancer tissue bank’
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. Dr Valerie Speirs and a dedicated team based in the Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine will head up the tissue bank at The University of Leeds, with other sites named as the University of Nottingham, University of Dundee, and The Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London.
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 Alastair Thompson, Chair of the Tissue Bank Management Board and Professor of Surgical Oncology, University of Dundee said, “The importance of the Breast Cancer Campaign Tissue Bank to both scientists and people with breast cancer cannot be underestimated. This revolutionary, national approach to tissue banking will ensure that research is fast tracked from laboratory advances into clinical practice. In the coming years we will see the benefits for people with breast cancer, as research using tissues from the Bank will lead to better prevention, earlier diagnosis and improved treatments which have the potential to save the lives of many thousands of people.”
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.
Judith McKenna, Asda Chief Financial Officer said, “The launch of this pioneering tissue bank is only possible because of the continued support we receive for Asda’s Tickled Pink campaign from customers and colleagues. We would like to thank everyone for their hard work and dedication over the past 15 years. We hope this will play a significant role in helping the thousands of people who are diagnosed with breast cancer each year.”
Nina Barough, Founder and Chief Executive of Walk the Walk said, “Our goal is to fund vital breast cancer research where we know it will make a huge difference to the lives of people with breast cancer. The Breast Cancer Campaign Tissue Bank undoubtedly fulfils this criterion and we are hugely excited to be awarding a grant to this groundbreaking project.”
Source: Breast Cancer Campaign, Walk the Walk, ASDA’s Tickled Pink