Brain cancer is one of the most under researched of all cancers, little is known about its cause or how to treat it, resulting in very low survival rates. Brain cancer research increasingly relies on collections of tumour samples and associated data (biobanks). Due to the location of brain cancer, and its rare nature, obtaining sufficient clinical samples is difficult. Furthermore, brain cancer biobanks across Australia are geographically and operationally disparate, and to date there has been no effort to coordinate them.

Brain Cancer Biobanking Australia (BCBA) is an initiative established to facilitate the networking of both adult and paediatric brain cancer biobanking operations Australia-wide with the aim of providing researchers with access to the number, quality and type of tissue samples and associated data they need in order to accelerate brain cancer research. Centralised coordination of brain cancer biobanking is vital to maximising the amount and quality of tissue and data available for research.

BCBA will achieve long term impact on the health of people with brain cancer through accelerating research, enabling researchers to circumvent the lengthy and costly process of individual biobanking applications, and providing more rapid access to quality specimens. The overarching goal of BCBA is to translate research findings to clinical care and improve treatment and outcomes for patients. BCBA is closely aligned with key organisations in brain tumour treatment and research, as well as various brain tumour consumer organisations.

In this grant we seek seed funding to contribute towards:-
1. Scoping and developing an appropriate biobank database for the BCBA network
2. Developing a common application process to streamline researcher access to brain cancer biospecimens

The key outcomes will be the development of a searchable common database structure and ethically sound and evidence-based common application process for BCBA member biobanks, to meet the needs of brain cancer researchers, as well as the individual biobank members of BCBA. This will in turn help brain cancer researchers to identify the materials they require for their research and also reduce the administrative requirements of applying for materials from the biobanks. It is through rapid access to adequate numbers of high quality biospecimens that laboratory research can be undertaken and then validated for clinical relevance. This will in turn lead to improve outcomes for brain cancer patients.


Dr Raymond Cook, A/Prof Jennifer Byrne

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