MEDIA RELEASE: Victorian Cancer Biobank recognised for lifesaving contributions to cancer research

Monday 30 October, 2023

Making Melbourne a global leader in cancer research

The Victorian Cancer Biobank, one of the country’s leading biomedical research infrastructures, has been selected as a finalist of the Melbourne Awards on Knowledge and Innovation for its ongoing contributions to biotechnological developments and groundbreaking cancer research.

The VCB plays a crucial role in biomedical cancer research through the ethical collection and provision of human bio-specimens.

The VCB is a consortium between Cancer Council Victoria and five major health precincts in Melbourne – Austin Health, Eastern Health, Melbourne Health, Monash Health, and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute – and continues to play a crucial role in biomedical research.

VCB General Manager, Dr Wayne Ng, was ecstatic with the nomination and said this was all due to thousands of Victorians generously donating blood and tissue samples for the betterment of cancer research.

Since 2006, the VCB has played an integral role in the advancement of scientific discoveries to improve clinical outcomes of a cancer diagnosis.

“People are the true power behind biobanking. Almost 40,000 Victorians have participated in our biobanking program meaning we have been able to provide their precious tissue and blood samples to progress many cancer research and development projects both locally and internationally,” Dr Ng said.

“Many of these projects have happened right here in the City of Melbourne. The nomination recognises our work that allows Victorians to empower cancer research to improve cancer outcomes and contributes to making Melbourne a global leader in cancer research.”

In 2022-23 alone, the VCB has serviced 60 projects, with 82% of them based in Victoria; two-thirds being long term projects; 17% of them were collaborations with biotechnology or pharmaceutical clients.

An example of such collaboration is ColoSTAT®, a new blood test that aims to screen for and detect colorectal or bowel cancer, the third most common cancer in Victoria.

Using blood samples from the VCB and based on research from CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, Rhythm Biosciences has developed a simple blood test-kit that measures five protein biomarkers, which indicate the presence of bowel cancer.

The test is currently approved for use in Europe, UK and New Zealand.

Dr Trevor Lockett, Technical Director of Rhythm Biosciences, said the VCB has provided an invaluable resource – blood samples – that have played a key role in the development of ColoSTAT®.

“The support provided by the VCB, its staff, and its network of hospitals, and in particular the generosity of its sample donors, have all been critical in enabling the great progress that our company has made in developing a new, simple, blood-based diagnostic test for the early detection of colorectal cancer and our other target cancers,” Dr Lockett said.

Dr Kim Fung, CSIRO Principal Research Scientist said the close collaboration between CSIRO and VCB since 2006 has been instrumental to the research to identify blood-based biomarkers for early detection of colorectal cancer, one of the most diagnosed cancers in Australia and worldwide.

“The support provided by the VCB, which included recruitment and provision of high-quality blood samples from donor participants, was instrumental for the foundational biomarker discovery and development work that we undertook at CSIRO, which has been critical for commercial success,” Dr Fung said.

Cancer Council Victoria CEO, Todd Harper AM, said that the VCB’s Melbourne Awards nomination is a testament to its world-leading contribution to cancer research.

“Thanks to the VCB, over 300 cancer research projects have been supported by almost 40,000 Victorians donating vital blood and tissue samples, with more than 450,000 of these samples readily available for emerging research from all over the world,” Mr Harper said.

“Also, a recent economic evaluation indicates that every dollar invested in VCB yields a strong return on investment of $1.59. This showcases the impactful use of public funds towards improvements to the health and wellbeing of all Victorians.”

Victorian Minister for Medical Research The Hon. Ben Carroll said that Victoria already has a strong worldwide reputation as the medical research capital of Australia.

“The recognition of the Victorian Cancer Biobank at the Melbourne Awards on Knowledge and Innovation has further cemented our place on the global stage,” Mr Carroll said.

“The VCB is a critical infrastructure that provides vital resources for researchers to improve cancer outcomes, and we’re proud to support their pioneering work to change and save lives – it’s innovations like these that demonstrate why the Victorian Government’s investment in medical research is so critically important.”

Winners of the Melbourne Awards are announced in November. Find out more about Melbourne Awards.

If you are interested in donating tissue to the Victorian Cancer Biobank, or would like to learn more, please visit:

About the Victorian Cancer Biobank

The Victorian Cancer Biobank is a consortium through long-term partnerships between Cancer Council Victoria as the lead agency, and five major health precincts in Melbourne – Austin Health, Eastern Health, Melbourne Health, Monash Health, and Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute. The consortium provides high quality human samples that are critical for translational research in an ethical and open access manner.

The VCB is funded by Victorian Department of Health through Victorian Cancer Agency. 

About Cancer Council Victoria

Cancer Council Victoria is the only charity that works across every area of every cancer, from research to prevention and support.

We help people to reduce their risk of getting cancer, once diagnosed with cancer through to their treatment and beyond. Together, it’s all of us against cancer.

Find out more at


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

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