The tissue bank
The Australasian Leukaemia and Lymphoma Tissue Bank, now known as the Discovery Centre, is a joint initiative of the Australasian Leukaemia and Lymphoma Group (ALLG) and the Leukaemia Foundation. Australia’s first and only specialised haematological tissue bank, it was established in October 2002 with the generous assistance of AMP Foundation and was later supported by PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
The facility is located in the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane and is overseen by Associate Professor Paula Marlton, founding Director of the Tissue Bank and former Chair of the ALLG Laboratory Science Committee.
The Leukaemia Foundation continues its strong support of the Discovery Centre as we work together towards our vision of finding better treatment and cures for blood cancers.
The Leukaemia Foundation of Queensland and the Leukaemia Foundation of Australia are providing $1.65 million to help run the facility from 2015-2017.
Why is this facility important?
Formerly known as the Tissue Bank, the ALLG Discovery Centre is a temperature-controlled facility storing clinical tissue samples to be used in approved research. The samples are human tissue samples collected from the blood, bone marrow and other body organs of patients across Australia with leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma or related blood disorders. All the tissues are collected with the informed consent of the patients.
In 2015, the Centre held more than 79,000 tissue samples from 3306 patients with blood cancer. These samples provide Australian researchers with an invaluable resource for developing innovative, targeted treatments, as well as testing the effects of new drugs on human tissue samples. Download a table of current Tissue Bank holdings (PDF).
A central secure database has been established and maintained to facilitate rapid tracking of the resources within the facility and record sample use.
The central repository gives researchers access to accumulated tissue samples of blood disorders and enables research groups to conduct larger scale studies. Prior to the establishment of the Tissue Bank it was difficult for researchers in Australia to access sufficient numbers of tissue samples for meaningful research into a wide variety of blood cancers without an organised,high quality, collection and storage process.
The Discovery Centre therefore plays a crucial role in research into leukaemia and other blood cancers which seeks to improve our understanding of:
- The biological processes leading to the development of these cancers
- The factors which control variable patient response to current treatments
- What treatment strategies will be more effective for patients
The ALLG Discovery Centre bridges the gap between the internationally excellent clinical expertise of the ALLG and equally high quality laboratory research being performed in research institutions across Australia.
The facility will play an important role in processing and storing tissue samples from clinical trial participants in the Leukaemia Foundation’s new Trials Enabling Program.