The BTNW Bank plays a major role in this regional collaboration. Providing researchers access to tumour tissue and blood samples is central to advancing the understanding of tumour development and testing potential treatments. It is testament to the generosity of our patients and their relatives at such a difficult time in their lives, that they overwhelming support the collection of this tissue for research purposes.
The BTNW bank has the approval of the National Research Ethics Service as a Research Tissue Bank and is held under a Human Tissue Authority licence at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust in Preston. The Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust also generously provide infrastructure and some technical support.
Patients (or relatives/consultees) are usually approached during their stay in hospital by the attending surgeon and the request to bank surplus tissue along with some additional blood samples is explained. Patient information sheets are provided and opportunities to ask further questions are provided before being offered a consent form. If a patient consents, there are no further requirements or requests other than to verbally check their continued agreement if further blood samples are required. Blood samples for banking are only taken when samples are also required for clinical management.
Patients can withdraw their consent at any time by request through their treating clinician following which their tissue will be withdrawn from the Bank, though research which has already been undertaken cannot be rescinded.
Tissue used by researchers will be anonymised so that individuals cannot be directly identified. It is highly unlikely that research results would influence patient treatment but under exceptional circumstances samples can be linked back via a secure records held in the hospital only accessible to the treating Consultant.