Victorian Cancer Biobank

Biobank Brief

      December 2012


2012 has been another busy, rewarding year and I’d like to take this opportunity to share some highlights with you.

Requests from researcher groups for biospecimens and services have increased from 23 in 2011 to 40 this year bringing the total number of applications received over the last six years to 160. This has included a significant increase in requests for clinical research and clinical trials support.

Another 3000 Victorians donated blood and tissue, and we dispatched more than 7,000 biospecimens. One notable dispatch involved the first interstate delivery of a fresh tissue specimen in media on ice. Researchers in Queensland received the tissue within three hours of surgery!

To expand our support of melanoma research we opened a new site at The Alfred to provide much needed tissue for collaborative research projects such as the Melbourne Melanoma Project.

Last month we were able to highlight the variety of research projects we support locally, nationally and internationally at our first Biobank Symposium. Following positive feedback, we aim to make this an annual event.

This year we commissioned an independent ‘User Survey’ which provided valuable information regarding our products and services. Researchers were extremely positive regarding our sample quality and packaging, our dispatch coordination and clinical trial and project specific protocol support. Approximately 70% of researchers across Victoria, Australia and internationally indicated that the VCB made obtaining biospecimens easier.

The survey also highlighted the need to improve the availability of clinical data available with biospecimens. In 2013, our focus will be to meet this need as we work with the Victorian Cancer Agency to begin the implementation of an integrated platform that better links data with biospecimens.

Best wishes for the holiday season. 

Dr Anne Thompson, CEO         


We are pleased to report that the Victorian Cancer Biobank Symposium 2012 – Supporting Translational Research, held on November 23 at the Telstra Theatrette, was a great success.

Presentations were given by researchers from Peter Mac, WEHI, Royal Melbourne Hospital, St Vincent’s, Prince Henry’s and Southern Health, as well as interstate representation from the Garvan Institute (NSW) and CSIRO (SA).

Audience members were provided with a snapshot of some of the research that has been undertaken using the broad range of biospecimens and services provided by the Biobank. Read more…  


Two international collaborative research groups who have received support from the Biobank have recently had their work published in the respected scientific journal, Nature.

The Biobank wishes to congratulate the Clinical Lung Cancer Genome Project and the Australian Pancreatic Cancer Genome Initiative for their successes and would especially like to thank them both for acknowledging the role of the VCB. Read more…


A VCB site at The Alfred was officially opened by the Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Nick Wakeling MP on August 10. The event was a great opportunity to bring together people from the VCB with members from local government, as well as staff at The Alfred.

Set up by the VCB and funded by the Victorian Government through the Victorian Cancer Agency, the facility will collect tissue to provide much needed support for collaborative research projects such as the Melbourne Melanoma Project based at Peter Mac and the Victorian Melanoma Service at The Alfred. Read more…