The Victorian Cancer Biobank (VCB) is an open access, not-for-profit resource established by Cancer Council Victoria and our partnered health care providers with the support from Victorian Government, to facilitate translational research in the cancer sector.

We provide researchers with a diverse selection of high-quality biospecimens and associated de-identified clinical data.


Areas of focus

The VCB specialises in the ethical procurement, processing, preservation and distribution of clinical grade biospecimens for research purposes that meet or exceed biobanking best practices, to ensure validation through standardisation, documentation and quality management. This includes the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and ISBER best practice guidelines.

The VCB consortium is also certified by the Canadian Tissue Repository Network (CTRNet), an international quality assurance program.

Our importance

Cancer is a significant global health challenge As one of the largest open access cancer biobanks in Australia, the VCB is critical in supporting the work of local, national and international scientists and researchers.

We operate as a collaborative consortium to provide centralised bio-specimen access to expedite the translation of research into improved cancer outcomes. We also provide on-demand clinical data to research projects with linkage to the Victorian Cancer Registry, including clinical follow-up and outcome information for the past 10 years.

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Our operation process

Operating as a hub-and-spoke collection model with a centralised database across Victoria, our success is driven by our collaboration with local pathologists, medical oncologists, surgeons and other critical hospital personnel.

We operate in a harmonised workflow across our partner hospitals, to obtain consent from potential donors, sample collections, and process, store and distribute high-quality biospecimens.

Our focus is on collecting surplus surgical tissues and pre-operative blood samples. Other bespoke collections may be serviced subject to capabilities, such as tissue biopsy or blood during a colonoscopy. In most cases, solid tissue samples are processed or distributed within an hour of collection, while blood samples are processed and stored or distributed within two hours of collection.


Our Mission

To collect, manage and provide high-quality biospecimens, data and services through a collaborative network of biobanks; and to promote open access for Victorian, national and global researchers to improve cancer outcomes.

Our Vision

To be recognised as the leader in providing the highest quality human biological materials for medical researchers.

Our Core Values


We strive to deliver the highest quality work and uphold a commitment to standardised best practices and continuous improvement.


We achieve our goals with responsibility and accountability.


We ensure transparency, accountability and stringent privacy protection measures to protect patients who participate in biobanking.


We maintain an extensive inventory of cancer disease and subtypes to support a broad range of cancer research.


We create and maintain mutually beneficial partnerships to increase the reach and impact of our work.

We believe quality materials lead to quality results

The VCB has a long-standing commitment to quality. Operations are standardised to international best practices, with audit systems in place to ensure compliance and regular testing to assure quality.

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A group of Victorian oncologists, researchers and pathologists developed the idea of a coordinated and large-scale biobank with centralised access to annotated biospecimens.



Initial support from Cancer Council Victoria

Initial seed funding was provided by Cancer Council Victoria to coordinate the harmonisation of protocols and datasets across four major tissue banks in metropolitan Melbourne. This formed a solid basis for a grant application to the Victorian Government.




The Victorian Cancer Biobank (VCB) consortium was founded by four members in June 2006 – Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne Health, Austin Health and Monash Health (formerly Southern Health), with Cancer Council Victoria as the lead agency. The consortium received $7 million in funding from the Victorian Government through the Department of Business and Innovation (formerly Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development).



First project established

The first VCB-supported project was established, and the Participant Information and Consent Forms (PICF) were harmonised across the consortium.



Growth in collections

Through the Victorian Cancer Agency, the Victorian Government provided additional funding for the purpose of expanding operations to regional Victoria, supporting clinical and project-specific research, and implementing a pathology digital imaging system. As a result of harmonisation efforts, the VCB implemented a centralised Cresalys database.



Supply and demand model

The VCB transitioned to a 'supply and demand' model that prioritised research- driven activities to increase operational efficiency and deliver wider impact to the research community.



Recruitment milestone

By 2014, the VCB had recruited more than 25,000 donors across 14 different tumour streams. This year also marked the first commercial project supported by the VCB.



Expanding the consortium

The VCB welcomed Eastern Health as its sixth consortium member, further strengthening our collaborative network of major Melbourne hospitals. The Victorian Cancer Agency continued to provide much-need funding.



Introducing OpenSpecimen and linkage with Victorian Cancer Registry

The VCB implemented a new fit-for-purpose database, OpenSpecimen, to improve its data management, monitoring and reporting capabilities.

A new website was developed for marketing to external users thanks to $115,000 in funding awarded from Therapeutic Innovation Australia.

The VCB performed its first data linkage with the Victorian Cancer Registry, contributing to the delivery of quality-assured data to researchers.



Supported projects milestone

We achieved a significant milestone by supporting over 300 projects, ranging from academic research initiatives to commercial client endeavours.



Achieved CTRNet certification and real-time specimen catalogue

In early November, the VCB successfully obtained independent Canadian Tissue Repository Network (CTRNet) quality certification across all its biobank sites, through the use of $193,000 in funding provided by Victorian Cancer Agency.

The VCB launched a new online specimen catalogue, providing researchers with a real-time overview of available specimens.

The VCB established routine data linkage with the Victorian Cancer Registry.



Additional funding

The Victorian Cancer Agency committed a further $6 million to support the VCB and $700,000 for equipment upgrades across the consortium.



Building a digital image repository

The Melbourne Health Tissue Bank received leverage funding from the Ian Potter Foundation for an Aperio Digital Image Scanner, which contributed to the establishment of a virtual biobank to increase opportunities for achieving breakthroughs and improving outcomes, particularly in relation to low-survival cancers.



Cross-border collaboration and Melbourne Awards Finalist 

The VCB signed an MOU with the Singapore Translational Cancer Consortium to facilitate cross-border cancer research collaboration.

The VCB was selected as a finalist for the 2023 Melbourne Award for Knowledge and Innovation, in recognition of its ongoing contributions to biotechnological developments and groundbreaking cancer research.


Building for the future

We will continue to support existing and new research projects in our effort to improve cancer outcomes. We anticipate soon reaching milestones of 40,000 recruited participants and 400 supported projects and are in the middle of developing a new strategic plan that addresses the biobanking demands of the research community.


The Victorian Cancer Biobank through the Cancer Council Victoria as Lead Agency is supported by the Victorian Government through the Victorian Cancer Agency, a business unit of the Department of Health.

RAP Victorian Cancer Biobank would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work. We would also like to pay respect to the elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.

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Consortium members

Cancer Council Victoria Austin Health Eastern Health Monash Health Peter Mac Royal Melbourne Hospital

Supported by