The Telethon Kids Institute - and home to the Brain Tumour Research Biobank Program - has recently relocated to a new state of the art research facility within the Perth Children’s Hospital. The exciting move presented no shortage of challenges, including physically transporting precious biobank specimens in specialist trucks five kilometres across town.
We asked the Brain Tumour Research team about the process and how they are enjoying their new home.
BCBA network member biobank, Queensland Children’s Tumour Bank (QCTB), contributed to a landmark paper recently published in Nature Medicine showing that paediatric glioblastoma (pGBM) and diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) are made of different cancerous cells that work together to invade the brain. This research offers clues on how to treat these aggressive childhood brain cancers, and highlights the importance of coordinated post-mortem brain tumour donations,
“This novel research led by our collaborator, Professor Chris Jones at the Institute of Cancer Research in London, sheds new light on how small numbers of cells within these tumours play an important role in the behaviour of the overall tumour.” said Andrew Moore, QCTB Director and BCBA Steering Group member (pictured).
“Breakthrough research like this is only possible by researchers having access to significant numbers of patient samples. When samples are rare, researchers often need to pool samples from biobanks around the world. This has certainly been the case for inoperable and incurable brain cancers such as DIPG. The Queensland Children’s Tumour Bank has been a key collaborator of Professor Jones’ for a number of years and contributed important samples for this study.”
Read the abstract
We are excited to announce the launch of a dynamic one-stop shop for researchers to search and apply for clinical samples across the entire BCBA network. The new online system will simplify the search for clinical samples and allow researchers to submit one application electronically to all member biobanks.
The interactive register captures all brain cancer biospecimens available across the national BCBA network and has the capacity for individual biobank members to regularly access the database and update their biospecimen collection information. The new system is a significant step forward in BCBA’s efforts to assist researchers to advance treatments and outcomes for brain cancer patients.
The South Australian Neurological Tumour Bank is set to triple its tumour collection rate through a new partnership with the Royal Adelaide Hospital. The tumour bank will soon receive neurological tumour tissue from the hospital, adding to the Flinders Medical Centre collection.
“We currently have approximately 180 brain and spinal cord tumour specimens” explains tumour bank coordinator Dr Rebecca Ormsby, “but this new link provides us a fantastic opportunities to expand the available resources for researchers”.
The tumour bank has also received a grant from the Neurosurgical Research Foundation to set up a comprehensive specimen and clinical information database for the tumour and blood specimens collected.
For more information contact Dr Rebecca Ormsby: SANTB@flinders.edu.au
Biobanking has been recognised as an area of focus as part of the Federal Government $1.9 billion expenditure to support Australia’s national research infrastructure over the next 12 years. Funding has been earmarked for a scoping study to determine the investments needed to maximise the broad range of biobanking activities across Australia. BCBA submitted to the development of the 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap and hopes to be involved during the course of the biobanking scoping study.
Read the Government Response to the 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap Research Infrastructure Investment Plan here.
The rare nature of brain cancer subtypes means that it can take many years to accumulate sufficient specimens for meaningful research. This month we highlight the contribution of the brain tumour bank at the Kolling Institute in Sydney. Established in 2003, the collection is now the largest in the BCBA Network and having recently completed a specimen audit it is probably also the most up to date. Under the direction of A/Prof Viive Howell, tissues collected and archived from donors at the Royal North Shore and North Shore Private Hospitals for over 15 years are making an invaluable contribution to both local and international research into many brain cancer subtypes.
For information on recent landmark studies and further information on the Kolling Institute Brain Tumour Bank click here
The first meeting of the Australian Brain Cancer Mission Strategic Advisory Group was hosted by the Federal Government agency, Cancer Australia, in Sydney on 3rd/4th April 2018. BCBA consortium members Anna Nowak, Lindy Jeffree, Mark Rosenthal and Robyn Leonard are members of the Strategic Advisory Group. The Group was established to provide strategic advice and guidance to support the $100 million Australian Brain Cancer Mission in achieving its objective of doubling the survival rates and improving the quality of life of patients with brain cancer over the next 10 years.
For more information on The Mission click here
$175,000 and counting - what an incredible fundraising result! To our sponsors, riders, donors and everyone involved in making this event such a resounding success, BCBA says thank you. These funds will assist us in our continuing effort to facilitate researcher access to the tissue and data that is vital to advancing brain cancer research and ultimately defeating this deadly disease. Let’s do it again! Register your interest for our next ride in 2019!
As we head into the final, very busy weeks before the launch of our Bike Ride for Brain Cancer, BCBA would like to acknowledge the support of SBS Cycling Central in promoting the event. Currently posted on their website are two videos highlighting BCBA and the ride. The first features cyclist and brain cancer survivor, Ross Bowles and the second backgrounds BCBA - the cause behind the ride.
Perth based Resource Capital Funds CEO and BCBA Bike Ride sponsor, James McClements and his wife Meredith are clocking up regular 100km training rides in preparation for their trip to Sydney to join fellow cyclists on our 2 day/250km cycling challenge. We thank them and our other sponsors, Champion Iron, EHR and Riversdale Resources for their amazing support and recognition of the importance of research infrastructure such as BCBA in advancing brain cancer research.
If you would like to join us on the road or just learn more please visit our fundraising website.
We are very excited to announce that rider registrations are now open on our new fundraising website bikerideforbraincancer.com.au The 2 day Ride from Sydney to the Hunter Valley will take place 9 – 10 March 2018. Places are limited so register now!
We plan to make it a weekend of fun for all the family and there will be many ways for non-cyclists to get involved. Make sure you stay in touch through our Facebook page @BCBAustralia as we provide updates on activities, as well as information such as booking accommodation for the Hunter Valley.
To register click here
For information regarding sponsorship click here
Newspaper journalist, Jane Hansen, has been running a campaign to push for awareness and funding for brain cancer research. The background story to BCBA’s effort to network and harmonise Australia’s fragmented paediatric and adult brain cancer biobanking operations became her focus in a recent article in the Sunday Telegraph.
To read the news item click here
This meeting held recently in Stockholm provides a global platform for comprehensive discussion and collaboration on activities important for biobanking. BCBA Steering Committee member, Professor Jenny Byrne, attended and reports that the opening address by Gregory Simon, President of the Biden Cancer Initiative, was inspirational and had attendees talking for days afterwards. However, it was Edward Dove’s presentation on international ethics review equivalency that provided her conference highlight. You can learn more about this important work here.
As for future meetings, Prof Byrne would like to see more discussion around how biobanks support research. In her words “We need to measure and compare biobank outputs more effectively and in more detail, so that we can improve how biobanks support research”.
The Directors of the Isabella and Marcus Brainstem Tumour Fund, Khushwant and Rob De Rose and Daniella and Anthony Ruberto have followed up their 2016 grant to BCBA with another $25,000 donation in 2017. This vote of confidence in BCBA and its operations is extremely valuable and we are all grateful to be the recipients of such generous and continued support from the Directors of this fund that was established to honour the memory of their children Isabella and Marcus.
This month we highlight the work of BCBA network member, the CHW Tumour Bank. Established in 1998, almost two decades of collecting rare brain tumour tissue is providing important sample contributions to significant paediatric brain cancer research such as this Canadian study into rare Atypical Rhabdoid Teratoid tumours published in Cancer Cell – emphasising why collecting rare tumours over time is vital to future understanding.
A/Prof Dan Catchpoole, who has been Head of the CHW Tumour Bank since 2001, has also recently taken on the role of ISBER Director at Large for the Indo-Pacific Rim with responsibility for supporting and growing biobanking in the entire region. Congratulations Dan from all at BCBA.
“We are on the cusp of personalised medicine for brain cancer patients which will only occur with the support provided by tissue banks.”
These are the words of Dr Sarah Olson, whose initiative and hard work in combination with the biobanking expertise of Emma Raymond has created Queensland’s first centralised repository of brain tumour tissue. The samples collected from donors in both public and private hospitals across SE Qld are now available to researchers with ethically approved projects. QBTB is yet another in the BCBA national network of biobanks dedicated to enabling and accelerating the search for better treatments and outcomes for brain cancer patients.
The return of research results and incidental findings is a hot topic worldwide in biobanking circles. BCBA’s Robyn Leonard joined pancreatic cancer researcher, Amber Johns and Australasian Biospecimen Network Association Chair, Catherine Kennedy to make up the Australian contingent on an international panel discussing this vexed issue at the recent International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER) conference in Toronto, Canada. BCBA will focus on developing tools to assist its member biobanks with this issue.
7th October 2018
The annual BCBA Consortium Meeting will once again be held in conjunction with the COGNO Annual Scientific Meeting. This year the meeting venue is the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Cnr Merivale and Glenelg Streets, South Brisbane. We look forward to seeing you there.
Time: 2:15pm - 4:15pm
18-19 October 2018
"The Art of BioBanking" is the title of this year’s ABNA conference to be held at the Pullman Mercure Albert Park, Melbourne.
Click here for the latest information.
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