Biobanking helps rare tumours research and treatment

16 December 2016

The biobanking of  samples of  rare tumours  in our Tumour Bank has enabled researchers to  undertake a deep assessment of the genomics of a rare tumour that affects children.  The study will have major impact on how these tumours will be managed and treated in the future  ‘Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumours’ (ATRA) appear in the brain as well as in other soft tissues like such as kidneys.   Children do not often survive for  longer than a year.

The study shows that rather than being similar biologically and one big group, these tumours could be grouped into 3 sub-groups which showed difference responses to various drugs. These differences may allow clinician make more specific choices of the types of chemotherapy they give to a specific patient and hopefully give them better clinical outcomes.

The researchers  from Canada searched the world for specimens of these rare tumours and our Tumour bank could provide specimens from 9 patients. The research used 191 samples.

This study demonstrates the value of having biobanking practice embedded within our Hospital. The Tumour Bank has collected residual material from all tumour biopsies since the late 1990s. These samples are often from rare tumours – which if not collected may not be seen again for many years.

In this small way, the  Tumour Bank has allowed a small group of patients from Western Sydney change the world!

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