Tumour banks are designed to freeze and store biological samples from cancer patients for clinical and research purposes.
These resources are primarily biological tissue and/or tumour cells but also non-tumour samples taken at a distance from the malignant lesion. Other types of samples can also be stored such as biological fluids i.e. whole blood (normal lymphocytes), serum or plasma, and more rarely urine and cerebrospinal fluid.
Derived products extracted from these rough samples are increasingly being stored, such as nucleic acids (DNA, RNA) and proteins. Biological samples are accompanied by histopathological, clinical and biological dynamic annotations.
Stored tumour sample analysis is both necessary to:
- improve diagnosis and prognosis, and make more effective the therapeutic management of the patient, particularly through new targeted therapies,
- support research to better understand and characterise the specific processes of each cancer type.
Storing and analysing biological samples, especially tumours, is a major issue in cancer prevention.
There are now 60 identified hospital tumour banks across the country including 21 tumour banks in Île-de-France. Specialised collections : MelanCohort for melanoma, Coïncide for cancer of the colon, and Biocanpedif for childhood cancer, have been constituted through regional projects and funding.