The King’s Health Partners Breast Cancer Biobank started in 1975 at New Cross Hospital, London. At that time, it was part of the Hedley Atkins Unit, named after the pioneering breast surgeon and researcher, Sir Hedley Atkins.
In 1985, the Unit moved to Guys hospital, with the biobank and laboratories based on the 2nd Floor of New Guy House (now Borough Wing). In 2004, the biobank moved into Thomas Guy House (now Bermondsey Wing) and in 2017 moved into the Innovation Hub, Guy’s Cancer Centre.
From the outset, the biobank has been supported by an academic breast histopathologist. Dr Rosemary Millis was the first, heading the pathology laboratory from 1975 to 1998, followed by Prof Andrew Hanby and more recently Prof Sarah Pinder. This expertise has led to detailed pathological data being recorded on the tissue samples, much of which is still used today and stands up to review under current diagnostic criteria.
The important link with research meant that changes in tissue quality could be fed back immediately. The ongoing desire to optimise tissue quality to benefit researcher requirements has become embedded in biobank working practice.
The Breast Biobank has been collecting information about the patient and their disease since the early 1970’s. Information about the initial breast cancer and any subsequent relapses has been collected at the time, so the reliability and quality of the data collection is extremely good.
Tissue and data have been shared with local, national and international collaborators. This has led to greater insight into the development and treatment of breast cancer and the publication of more than 300 peer-review papers.
Applications to use samples or data from the King’s Health Partners Breast Cancer Biobank are accepted from investigators in both academic and commercial sectors.