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Biobank or Tumour Bank



      Ilse Gutierrez-Roelens,
      Biobank Manager

What is the Tumour Bank all about?


When a patient suffering or thought to be suffering from cancer is cared for, samples are often taken to determine the precise diagnosis and to determine any treatment necessary. After this essential stage of the patient’s care, unused biological material is sometimes left over. This material is an essential and precious tool for research into cancer. This material can be made available to researchers the world over who study either the development mechanism of cancer or the new treatments available. Residual samples are centralised and stored in the Tumour Bank at the Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc King Albert II Institute.

Who benefits from it?

The research carried out on this material primarily benefits cancer patients.
It can help improve existing treatments or discover new drugs, and also allows new diagnostic tools to be tested. Any financial profits obtained from assessing the results obtained are entirely reinvested in the work of the King Albert II Institute’s Tumour Bank and in new research projects at the Catholic University of Louvain.


Is there complete freedom of choice?

Everyone is entirely free to refuse the giving of remaining clinical samples. All you need to do is express your decision to the doctor or care co-ordinator responsible for your file. Similarly, patients are free at any time to go back on their consent without being required to give a reason or suffering any loss of benefit in terms of subsequent medical treatment. In this case, the samples obtained from them and stored in the Tumour Bank will be taken out and destroyed.

Is all this ethical and legal?

Using and sharing material, and verification and retrospective analysis of clinical data, all comply with strict rules. As with donations of blood, marrow or organs, an Ethics Committee oversees the operations of the Tumour Bank and research projects. This committee is responsible for ensuring compliance with current Belgian and legal texts, especially those concerning the protection of patient privacy and rights.

Is anonymity guaranteed? What about genetic analysis?

Material stored is always coded so that no personal information is passed on. Researchers in public or private laboratories all sign a strict use contract that ensures preservation of anonymity by prohibiting any attempts at establishing patient identity, including by means of genetic analysis.


Do you still have questions or misgivings?


Do not hesitate to discuss them with the responsible of biobank.



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