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Applying for Tissue Samples

Applying for Tissue Samples - Process for Researchers

Step 1.  Approval by the Biobank Access and Oversight Committee
Initial contact by e-mail ( is usually received from a researcher interested in obtaining samples. A search of our database is undertaken to establish the approximate number of samples in storage or feasibility of providing fresh tissue which meets requirements.
The application process is detailed to the researcher via email and our Application Form and MTA / Conditions of Use forms are attached. Please note, cost recovery may be implemented. Researchers must read and agree to the MTA / Conditions of Use before obtaining samples. 
The completed application will then be assessed within one month by members of the Biobank Access and Oversight Committee. The committee regularly communicates electronically to accelerate the distribution of samples. Members include the CCC Biobank Coordinator, custodian of the Tissue Bank, a pathologist and haematologist, members of the oncology team, an oncology surgeon, senior scientists, a legal representative and a lay member. Samples are available to any researcher who can provide a proposal with scientific or clinical merit, Human Research Ethics Committee approval and evidence of funding. The Committee will evaluate each application based on the following criteria:

Scientific Approach
  • Are the conceptual framework, hypothesis, design, methods, and analyses adequately developed, well-integrated, and appropriate to the aims of the project?
  • Is this a justified and efficient use of the tissue resource?
  • Does the application acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative tactics?
Significance and Applicability
  • Does this study address an important problem in the study of cancer?
  • If the aims of the application are achieved, how will scientific knowledge be advanced?
  • Is the investigator appropriately trained and well suited to carry out this work?
  • Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience level of the principal investigator (PI) and other researchers?
  • Does this proposal have specific funding?
  • Is this funding adequate to perform the work?
Tissue Availability
  • Does the CCC Biobank have sufficient tissue (cases and numbers) to allow the project to have adequate statistical power?

Applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application by e-mail. Samples will be held for the researcher for 3 months from the date of approval by the Committee. If the application is denied, the committee will explain what amendments are required. Applications are accepted pending governance and ethical approval.   

Step 2.  Ethics and Governance approval by RCH HREC (if applicable)
The researcher then submits their ethics and governance application to The RCH HREC. The CCC Biobank Access and Oversight Committe approval form must be included in the application to Research Ethics and Governance.  It is the researcher's responsibility to inform the CCC Biobank of any delays in gaining governance and ethics approval.  If ethical approval has been granted from the researchers host institution please forward to the CCC Biobank Coordinator.

Step 3.  Delivery of samples and progress reports
The applicant then informs the Biobank Coordinator of governance and ethics approval by providing the HREC approval certificate. The applicant is asked to forward details of their World Courier account number to facilitate delivery of samples (if applicable). If the applicant is a local researcher's then arrangements are made for samples to be collected from the Royal Children's Hospital. Within 6-12 months of an applicant receiving samples from the CCC Biobank, an e-mail is sent to the applicant requesting a progress report on the samples. 
The researchers are required to provide a brief progress report 12 months following receipt of the samples and also a report following completion of the project. These reports should indicate the percentage of samples that have provided useful information, whether the study is still continuing, and the anticipated date of study completion. You will NOT be requested to reveal the results of the study in this report. A copy of all publications (peer-reviewed manuscripts and conference abstracts) resulting from use of CCC Biobank samples should be forwarded to the Biobank upon acceptance by the conference/journal committee. This feedback is crucial to the CCC Tissue Bank for its own applications for ongoing funding, so that samples can continue to be collected, processed and stored for future applicants.
Any sample remaining following completion of the research project must be returned to the Biobank. It will be noted in the database that the integrity of these samples is unknown and may be compromised. This information will be disclosed to researchers wanting to access these returned samples. Cell lines must not be distributed by researchers without prior approval by the Biobank Coordinator. Scientists must provide a copy of all publications including peer-reviewed manuscripts and conference abstract resulting from use the specimens provided by the Tissue Bank. The CCC Tissue Bank must be acknowledged in all publications or presentations arising from use of samples. In the case of a collaborative investigation, recognition should be in keeping with international standards on authorship.

The cost of packaging and shipment of samples from (or returning to) the Biobank will be borne by the individual/institution requesting the sample and not by the Biobank. 

The process of applying for samples is documented below