Researching the cures


Tissue Bank patient and public engagement event

Patients who have donated their pancreatic tumour tissue to the PCRF Tissue Bank following surgery and their families were among a group of supporters who took part in a patient and public engagement event at Barts Cancer Institute on 02 July.

Organised by the Tissue Bank team and hosted by co-director, Professor Hemant Kocher, the session forms part of the team’s continual efforts to improve procedures and ensure that all engagement and communications about the Tissue Bank are appropriate, timely and clear.

Attendees gave feedback and opinion on the clarity of consent forms, and the timing of approaches for consent.  The Tissue Bank team were keen to ensure that all donors understand their donated tissue is anonymised, how it is used by researchers and that consent for its use can be withdrawn at any time. The session included information on the strict legal and regulatory frameworks that the Tissue Bank is required to work within and PCRF’s CEO Maggie Blanks explained how she and Hemant have regular update sessions to ensure that everything is on track and running smoothly.

Currently, the Tissue Bank – the first national pancreas tissue bank in the world – holds just under 20,000 samples of tumour tissue, blood and urine. These will help scientists to accelerate their research into pancreatic diseases, and drive progress in early diagnosis and potential new treatments for pancreatic cancer patients.

The day ended with attendees being given a tour of the Tissue Banking facilities to see where the samples are stored.

Maggie Blanks said: “It’s a reflection of the ethos of those running the facility that they held this feedback session, because it’s not something that’s formally required.  We’re very grateful to the patients and families who attended and shared their views and experiences.”