Ontario Tumour Bank
What we do

The Ontario Tumour Bank (OTB) collects and stores tissue samples and data from patients with cancer for research use. OTB is one of the few biobanks in North America that stores samples of tumours from patients. Samples and patient data are made available to researchers so they can study cancer and find better ways to care for patients.

Why we do it

As one of the first biobanks in Canada, OTB has collected a lot of samples from a large number of patients with cancer. Access to all these samples lets researchers compare patients with the same type of cancer as well as different types of cancer. This helps them understand  how cancer starts and changes over time. That can lead to new ways to find and treat cancer that improve the lives of patients.

How we do it

OTB relies on cancer patients to donate samples and data so we can solve cancer together. We partner with biobank staff at Ontario hospitals where patients are getting cancer care. Biobank staff tell the patient about OTB and invite them to take part. If the patient agrees, samples of blood and tumour are collected for research use during their clinical care. Biobank staff also collect information from the patient’s hospital chart. To protect the privacy of patients, personal data such as name and date of birth are not shared with researchers.


OTB is always trying to improve and create new services. Researchers can now request custom sample collections from OTB that are tailor-made for their studies. We are also forming an ‘Association of Ontario Tumour Biobanks’. This will allow us to supply larger research requests as well as share skills and knowledge with other cancer biobanks. 

Ontario Tumour Bank Summary
Ontario Tumour Bank

If you are looking for samples or for more information about the Ontario Tumour Bank visit ontariotumourbank.ca.

Academic and industry-based researchers in Canada and internationally can count on Ontario Tumour Bank to provide tissue and blood samples of high quality, diversity and integrity.

Four academic teaching hospitals across Ontario currently collect samples and data from participating donors for OTB. OTB distinctively features direct control over every aspect of collection, storage and access to an extensive inventory of cancer biospecimens with rich, de-identified, clinical data. Access procedures for researchers are streamlined while ensuring high ethical standards and protection of donor privacy and confidentiality.



In the News
Ask a Cancer Researcher: What happens to samples donated to tumour banks?
Ask a Cancer Researcher: What happens to samples donated to tumour banks?
Jul 19, 2023