The new tissue bank will aid the fight against breast cancer
The University of Leeds is to be one of the key locations of the world's first national breast cancer tissue bank, it has been announced.
This ground-breaking initiative will see four centres around the UK working together as one national resource, the Breast Cancer Campaign said.
The other sites are the University of Nottingham, University of Dundee, and The Barts Cancer Institute, which is part of the Queen Mary University of London.
Dr Valerie Speirs and a dedicated team based in the Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine will head up the tissue bank at The University of Leeds.
The centres will store breast tissue samples, donated by patients throughout the country, safely and consistently and will be available to scientists whatever their location in the UK and Ireland.
There is currently no such large resource of breast tissue available to scientists and doctors anywhere in the world.
Historically, access to suitable materials for research has been completely dependent on a scientists' location and contacts, says Breast Cancer Campaign. The result is a major barrier to translating research into potential new treatments and, in the long term, saving lives.
A breast cancer cell up close
From tissue samples researchers will be able to glean vital, but anonymous, information about the patient, the characteristics of their cancer, family history, treatments, and, over time, their effectiveness, and whether the disease progresses or recurs.
Professor Alastair Thompson, Chair of the Tissue Bank Management Board and Professor of Surgical Oncology, University of Dundee said, "This revolutionary, national approach to tissue banking will ensure that research is fast tracked from laboratory advances into clinical practice.
"In the coming years we will see the benefits for people with breast cancer, as research using tissues from the Bank will lead to better prevention, earlier diagnosis and improved treatments which have the potential to save the lives of many thousands of people."