Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Ireland’s first Brain Tumour Biobank will lead to increased cancer research opportunities

26 May 2017
Researchers from RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland), with support from the Department of Neurosurgery and Neuropathology in Beaumont Hospital, have begun collecting samples from brain tumours for inclusion in Ireland’s first Brain Tumour Biobank.

Professor Jochen Prehn, Professor of Physiology at RCSI, said “The launch of this Brain Tumour Biobank is a fantastic development for cancer research in Ireland. It is the first biobank of its type in Ireland and one of only a small handful that exist in Europe.”

“In recent years much progress has been made in the treatment and diagnoses of brain tumours however future advances are likely to be made through a greater understanding of the underlying biology.” 

“To conduct studies and research into brain tumours it is vital to have access to a wide range of samples from various different types of brain tumours and a brain tumour biobank gives us the opportunity to do that for the benefit of patients,” Prof Prehn continued.

A biobank is a large collection of biological, medical data and tissue samples, collected for research and diagnostic purposes. A patient who is having brain surgery as part of their clinical treatment will have the tumour removed, examined and diagnosed. After this the excess brain tumour tissue will be stored in the biobank. 

The brain tumour biobank will become a repository for brain tumour samples which will enable researchers use samples for future clinical studies, to identify and diagnose tumours in other patients and help develop cancer treatments. All samples included in the biobank are anonymised and patients consent is sought in advance of treatment. 

“The structure of biobanks fosters cross-collaboration between disease advocacy organisations and research scientists.  They produce a synergy that hastens the research process, making treatments or cures to genetic conditions attainable in the near future. Other biobanks in Ireland for other forms of cancer, such as the breast and bowel cancer have proved to be invaluable to research and developing new cancer treatments,” concluded Professor Prehn. 

The Brain Tumour Biobank is part funded by Brain Tumour Ireland. 

Natasha Smith, Chair of Brain Tumour Ireland, said “Aside from providing support and information to brain tumour patients, one of our chief goals as a charity is to fund brain tumour research. That’s why we are delighted to provide funding for this new Brain Tumour Biobank.
We know that progressing brain tumour research is really important to many of our donors and supporters.”

“This Biobank is a really important development in brain tumour research here in Ireland and for the future development of novel therapeutics. Brain Tumour Ireland is delighted to support this fantastic initiative and we look forward to continued partnership with RCSI and Beaumont Hospital.”  

RCSI is ranked in the top 250 institutions worldwide in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (2016-2017). It is an international not-for-profit health sciences institution, with its headquarters in Dublin, focused on education and research to drive improvements in human health worldwide. 

Brain Tumour Ireland is a national registered charity working to inform and support brain tumour patients and their families. Brain Tumour Ireland also fundraises for brain tumour research.