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Cancer Tissue Bank @ Barts Health

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Information for Researchers

Cancer is a major global disease burden. An estimate of this burden is as follows.

  • Cancer: estimated incidence worldwide
    • 12.7 million
  • Cancer: estimated incidence in the UK
    • 325,000 new cancers (~500 per 100,000)
    • 157,000 deaths
  • Barts Health (catchment population 820,000)
    • 4200 new cancers
  • Barts Health (extended population 2.5 million)
    • 13,000 new cancers
The medical treatment focuses on:
  • Main focus: diagnosis and treatment of the primary cancer
  • Secondary focus: the diagnosis, surveillance, prevention and treatment of cancer metastases
Therefore cancer causes
  • Immense healthcare burden in terms of
    • Cost
    • Patient anxiety
  • No single diagnostic test exists for diagnosis of cancer metastases
    • A range of different scans and tumour markers are used with variable specificity and sensitivity.

What are biomarkers?

Biological markers which can be detected in human body though a range of tests can enable doctors to do various things for a disease. They can be divided as:
  • Diagnostic biomarkers: enable early diagnosis
  • Prognostic biomarkers: define patients requirement for additional treatment
  • Predictive biomarkers: Define the type of treatment
    • Pharmacodynamic: how patient may respond to treatment for e.g., how a drug/medicine may be distributed in body and what effect/side-effect it may have
    • Efficacy response: whether patients are responding to treatment

So what is missing?

  • To develop a diagnostic test, we are unable to access samples that are
    • uniformly collected
    • reliably stored
    • clinically annotated
  • These patients are often seen by diverse specialities in clinics at different sites.
  • No clear collaboration between clinicians working in different specialities and scientists with distinct expertise.

What are the merging opportunities in research and treatment of cancer patients?

  • More effective treatments
  • Centralisation of services leads to highly experienced teams with efficient protocols
  • Cutting edge technologies in research such as
    • Next generation sequencing
    • Proteomics, metabolomics, and other -omics platforms
    • Cell and molecular biology
    • Targeted treatment regimens
    • Bioinformatics and IT
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