Tumour Bank Timeline

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The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – Tumour Bank collects, properly stores and documents information for all donated tumour tissues. Researchers in Alberta (and elsewhere) can access these tissues for research. It’s a growing initiative, and here’s how it developed.

1999 “Four of us got together, all of us breast cancer-treating clinicians: myself, Judith Hugh, John Danyluk and surgeon Kelly Dabbs. With no budget, some support from our institutions and just good will to go on, we started what we called the Breast Research Tissue Bank.”
– Dr. John Mackey

2000 “I joined the Cross Cancer Institute in November, 2000. They weren’t looking to hire someone exclusively for the tumour bank. I came here as a researcher and then my interaction with Dr. John Mackey, Dr. Brent Zanke (then-director of the Cross) and others culminated the creation of a tumour bank.”
– Dr. Sambasivarao Damaraju

2000 “We got a substantial amount of funding from the Alberta government and the Alberta Cancer Foundation to set up a formal tumour bank, to do it right instead of a shoestring budget with four friends who had these ideas over coffee. That money allowed us to set up a professional, world-class tumour bank. The first hire to the tumour bank was Dr. Damaraju.”
– Dr. Mackey

2000 A local team created the Database for Online Retrieval and Analysis. “The database was developed in consultation with the physicians, scientists, technologists and others. It captures the clinical, pathological, diagnostic, treatment and followup information. It keeps evolving based on the needs and data that we collect and deposit.”
– Dr. Damaraju

2001 Dr. Damaraju co-wrote and published a paper about the human genome sequence, addressing the concept of personalized therapies and medicines. “To address and personalize the medicine, we needed well-run, annotated tumour banks. This is how the first high-quality tumour bank concept was born.”
– Dr. Damaraju

2005 The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – Prairies/NWT Chapter and the Alberta Cancer Board launched the Canadian Breast Cancer Alberta Research Tumour Bank. This consolidated Calgary’s Research Tissue Repository and efforts of cancer tissue collection in Edmonton. It was the first provincial tumour bank in Canada.

2007 “We started distributing specimens from the bank in 2007 as an open-access bank where samples were accessible for all researchers. Until that time, we were banking and using them for our own research. Since then we have given away 3,000 samples.”
– Dr. Damaraju

2009 “Because of the funding from Alberta Innovates Health Solutions and the Alberta Cancer Prevention Legacy Fund, we were able to create a larger umbrella called the Alberta Cancer Research Biorepository.”
– Dr. Damaraju

2011 As of October 3, the CBCF tumor bank [sic] had 2,146 samples of breast tumour tissue among many other types of biological materials available for researchers to access in its open-access bank.
– M.L.

See abtumorbank.com for more information.

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