The Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center Tissue Procurement Program began collecting tissue for cancer research in 2008. Since its inception the tissue bank has grown each year and is now providing much needed tissue to researchers who use that tissue to learn more about the biology of cancers and develop new ways to diagnose and treat cancer. When a patient signs a consent form allowing the tissue bank to bank their tissue, their treatment is not affected in any way. Remnant or "left over" tissue is collected for the tissue bank. The patient's privacy is protected and the patient is not contacted following collection. Participation is voluntary and the participant may change their mind and pull the tissue from the bank. The only exception would be if the tissue has already been sent to a researcher. The tissue is frozen in the bank until a researcher requests a specific type of sample. The tissue may remain in the bank from several weeks to several years.
In 2017 the tissue bank expanded its services to researchers and now supplies primary cell cultures, which are tumor cells that are grown in the laboratory and can be frozen for future use.
Patients who graciously consent to release their tissue are providing a special gift and are providing the tools necessary for researchers to help advance cancer care and treatment for future generations.