Why was the Ontario Tumour Bank Created?

Scientific and technological advances in genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics are providing new insight into the cause and treatment of cancer. The analysis of human tumours offers academic and industry researchers a window into the molecular and genetic world of cancer. Through the analysis of tumours, researchers have learned about the molecular makeup of tumours, discovered biomarkers that are characteristic of tumours and identified genes responsible for specific cancers. This knowledge creates exciting possibilities for the creation of new diagnostic and prognostic tools and for the identification of targets for new drug therapies.

In order for the potential of the genomics revolution to be realized, research scientists and clinicians must analyze the molecular makeup of large numbers of human tumour tissues. Although researchers can use models of the disease such as cell lines and animal tumours, at some point it becomes essential to study human tissues to understand how a disease like cancer develops in humans. Thus, researchers require access to collections of well-preserved and well-characterized tumour tissue accompanied by high quality clinical data.

Recognizing the need for a provincial biorepository and data bank, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) has established the Ontario Tumour Bank. By making high-quality tissues and accompanying clinical data available to cancer researchers, the Ontario Tumour Bank will help accelerate cancer research.