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How to Cancer Biobank is used to benefit patients

Biobanks do not provide immediate clinical benefit to a donor but have a longer-term value for future patients with a similar type of cancer.


A good example of how biobanks can directly benefit patients, is their role in identifying HER-2 positive breast cancers. By studying thousands of breast tumours (including some of those in the King’s Health Partner’s Breast Cancer Biobank), researchers discovered that about 25% have extra copies of the HER2 gene and that these tumours behave differently to those without the extra copies. Subsequently diagnostic tests were developed to reliably detect HER-2 breast cancers and scientists have developed drugs to slow the growth of the tumour.

King’s Health Partner’s Breast Cancer Biobank has contributed samples for a large UK-Canada collaborative study to identify different types of breast cancer based on genetic profile. As a result, ten different types of breast cancer were identified. Researchers are now investigating if these different breast cancers should be treated with different drugs [link to publication].


Information about how patient samples and information are used by King’s Health Partner’s Cancer Biobank can be seen on the tissue-type biobank pages.

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