Tissue Bank boost for brain cancer researchers

Health news

A new Leeds-based brain tumour Tissue Bank is set to open following donations from two Yorkshire charities.

The facility, jointly hosted by the University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, will mean brain cancer researchers in Yorkshire will be better resourced to continue their world-renowned work.

The project, which begins in January, will allow more collaboration locally and nationally, providing state-of-the-art resources to collect, examine and conserve fresh tissue samples.

In Yorkshire, an average of 1,000 adults and children are diagnosed with a brain tumour every year; they are the biggest cancer killer of people aged under 40. The prognosis for brain tumour patients has improved very little over the last 40 years.

The Tissue Bank will be headed up by Dr Lucy Stead, Associate Professor at the University of Leeds, and is being jointly funded by OSCAR’s Paediatric Brain Tumour Charity and Yorkshire’s Brain Tumour Charity for three years.

This is an extremely exciting project to get involved with, as the impact that this will have on brain tumour research, not just in Yorkshire, but nationally and globally, is enormous.

Marie Hughes, Chief Executive Officer of OSCAR's charity

The Leeds Tissue Bank is a collaboration between Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, which will liaise with patients to gain their consent and to collect the tissue samples during surgery, and the University of Leeds, which will process, store and distribute the samples for use in medical research.

Dr Lucy Stead, Head of Glioma Genomics at Leeds' School of Medicine, said: “To understand human disease, we need to learn from patient tissue. This Tissue Bank will facilitate a large range of brain cancer research in Leeds, and beyond, and help us advance towards finding a cure.”

Dr Lucy Stead smiles as she sits at her desk which has a laptop and monitor screen on itDr Lucy Stead, computational biologist from the University of Leeds, will be leading on the new Tissue Bank

Marie Peacock, Chief Executive Officer at Yorkshire’s Brain Tumour Charity, said: “We are delighted to be able to jointly fund the Tissue Bank which in the future will have a real positive impact for patients and the difficult choices they must make. It will improve treatment and increase survival, and this is just the difference that one piece of research may make; the Leeds Tissue Bank will be of use for many more too.”

Marie Hughes, Chief Executive Officer of OSCAR’s charity lost her son Oscar to a Medulloblastoma (brain tumour) in May 2014 when he was nine years old, and her five-year-old son Milo is currently undergoing treatment for a different type of brain tumour. She said: “The only way to find a cure and less devastating treatments is to undertake critical research. The work that Dr Lucy Stead is doing locally will create more opportunities for researchers to have greater success in brain tumour investigation.

“This is an extremely exciting project to get involved with, as the impact that this will have on brain tumour research, not just in Yorkshire, but nationally and globally, is enormous.”

The Tissue Bank will launch in January for researchers across Yorkshire and beyond to access, giving hope to thousands of families experiencing this devastating disease.

Further information

Header image shows brain tumour tissue viewed through a microscope, which allows neuropathologists to diagnose the tumour.

For further details, contact Simon Moore in the University of Leeds press office via s.i.moore@leeds.ac.uk