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Wales Cancer Bank (COVID 19 Amendment)

Last updated on 15 Apr 2020

Research type

Research tissue bank


Wales Cancer Bank

Contact name

Mrs Monika Hare





New study or amendment to existing study


Research summary 

The biobank collects tissue, blood and bodily fluid samples from cancer patients, or those with suspected cancer, in Wales. Any patients in a hospital where a WCB nurse or trained individual is present to consent is eligible to donate. Tissue will only be taken after review by a pathologist and only material surplus to diagnostic requirement is sourced. Patients can consent pre operatively or retrospectively (weeks or months after the procedure that removed potentially surplus tissue). If there is no surplus tissue available, the WCB will ask the pathologist to mark an area on a diagnostic block from which they will allow WCB to take cores. Currently just over 12,000 patients have consented to donate biosamples to the bank and there are approximately 90,000 individual aliquots of biosamples stored in WCB.

A wide range of tumour types are collected, currently there are 32 different tumour types in the bank, the largest collections are of breast, colorectal, renal and prostate cancer. Tissue is collected and stored in a variety of formats, fresh, frozen and paraffin embedded. Tumour tissue and adjacent normal tissue are sourced wherever possible, if the pathologist deems the tissue to be surplus to diagnostic requirement and releases it to WCB. Blood samples are taken for separating out serum or plasma and EDTA blood is taken for potential DNA extraction. Tissue samples are also further processed to extract nucleic acids (DNA and/or RNA) and proteins or to produce tissue microarrays. The bank would like to continue with the current collection strategy.


The Wales Cancer Bank has been approached to ascertain availability of biosamples for use as control samples in COVID19 work.   We do have samples available but our ethics approval is to issue samples for cancer related research. Clearly any developments in developing tests or treatment would benefit cancer patients as they are in a high risk group but as the work is not specifically cancer related, we seek REC approval to relax our stated criteria for COVID19 related research over the next 6-12 months.  

This will only make use of samples already collected and stored in the biobank so there will be no changes to the patient information sheet or consent form.   Any request for samples will be scrutinised via the expedited review process used for pilot projects. The Sample Issue policy and relevant SOP have both been updated to include statements on supply of samples to Public Health Emergency projects and the related process.  

A registration form has been drafted to capture the details of the intended research that will allow project recording and sample traceability in the same manner as full applications.



Registry entries


REC name

Wales REC 3

REC reference


Date approved


Back to approved covid-19 research

Back to approved covid-19 research