Brain Tumour Tissue Bank: Patient Information

Research on brain tumours depends on the availability of human brain tissues. Although other research models have been developed, none completely reproduce the pathophysiology of human brain tumours. This is why Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada funds the Brain Tumour Tissue Bank. This 'bank' provides the raw materials essential for basic brain tumour research.

The Brain Tumour Tissue Bank collects, processes and catalogues brain tumour tissue samples and ships them across Canada and around the world. Over 1,000 cases have been catalogued since the tissue bank opened in 1991, resulting in a library of several thousand frozen brain tumor specimens.

The Collection Process

Brain tumour tissue samples are collected during tumour removal surgery. These samples are immediately frozen in liquid nitrogen. Each frozen specimen has a matching piece of tumour that is processed and later cut onto a slide for quality control. Rigorous quality assurance procedures ensure scientific quality.

The anonymous brain tumour tissue samples are then coded by number and tracked in a comprehensive database. This level of detail allows the lab to meet very specific requests from researchers for tumour type, grade and characteristics.

The Brain Tumour Tissue Bank is housed in the state-of-the-art facilities at University Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre, close to surgery. This ensures that gathering tissue samples and processing them is quick and efficient.

 Patient Participation

In a standard brain tumour operation, after the tumour is removed only a small portion of this tissue is required by the pathology department to establish the diagnosis. The remaining tissue is not needed for diagnosis and can be stored at the Brain Tumour Tisssue Bank.

Participation in the program is completely voluntary and there are no increased risks to the patients. The source of all tissues is kept confidential and any descriptions of research related to these tissues in a medical journal will not mention patients by names.

Interested patients or guardians of patients about to undergo a brain tumour operation at the London Health Sciences Centre may be asked by the neurosurgeon to participate. Patients or guardians may also inquire about the program with their surgeon.


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