• Molecular Pathology

Research - Molecular Pathology


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Acquisition of tumour tissue is key to translational research and we have developed an extensive biobanking infrastructure that exploits the huge patient base in Manchester.

Our Biobank was established in 2007 and currently supports tissue collectors in five NHS Trusts across Greater Manchester, collecting high quality tumour and matched samples with linked clinical data from at least 12 tumour types. From initially focusing on a sample ‘six pack’ of blood, urine and frozen and fixed tissue, the biobank has evolved to collect other samples of interest including plucked hair and ascites. It has been an invaluable resource, transforming the way tissue is collected for translational research locally and proving its worth through successful delivery of internal and external projects such as the Cancer Research UK Stratified Medicine Programme, Genomics England 100K Genomes Project and TRACERx.

A personalised medicine strategy requires routine molecular analysis of tumour samples and circulating biomarkers from the very beginning of the patient journey to determine the optimal combination of therapies for treatment. A key challenge is the acquisition of repeat tumour biopsies for most cancer types, particularly in the early phase clinical trial setting. We are meeting this challenge through the development of a Research Biopsy Suite at The Christie, which is unique in the UK and allows repeat tumour biopsies to be part of standard patient care and to fit alongside research activity.

We are building on our strong biobanking platform to readily acquire samples from each stage of the patient pathway and meet increasing demand for bespoke tissue collections. We are developing more extensive capabilities in the establishment of in vivo models, including PDX and CDX, and novel cell lines. In addition, we are implementing robust informatics that can deliver routine dataset collection from all patients and more detailed data collection for specific projects.