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Journey of a blood sample

Based in the Cancer Centre at Guy’s, the Cancer Biobank contains around 370,000 samples from almost 40,000 patients. This includes samples of blood, saliva, urine, bone marrow and tumour tissue.

Dr Cheryl Gillett, head of biobanking, says: “The Cancer Biobank helps scientists answer important questions about why conditions occur and who is at risk. The answers to these questions can lead to earlier, more accurate diagnosis and better treatment for patients at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and around the UK.”


This is what happens if you are invited to provide a sample >>>

Samples collected

Wherever possible we combine the collection of research tissue and blood with usual clinical activities. So, when blood is taken for routine blood tests, we would take just a little more blood while the needle is still in place.


If you are having surgery, we ask your permission to collect into the Biobank anything that is not needed to complete the diagnosis. This is called 'Surplus' tissue. 


For samples like blood, urine, saliva or faeces, these are samples taken specifically for the Biobank, This is called 'Research-Specific' tissue.


Both require you to give consent once everything has been explained to your satisfaction.


The Biobank allocates a unique code to all samples collected. This means that personal identifiers, like name and address, are never available to the researcher. They will never be able to identify you personally.

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Human Tissue Act 2004

If, for any reason you prefer not to donate samples or information for research purposes, then we will not question this. Your medical treatment will continue as arranged. Also, if for any reason you change your mind having already consented to biobanking, we will identify and destroy any samples or information we might have.

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