Can I participate in the Alfred Cancer Biobank?
You are invited to participate in the Alfred Cancer Biobank if you are:
- A patient of The Alfred hospital
- Diagnosed or at risk of developing cancer
- At or over 18 years old
- Have a valid Medicare card.
Why should I participate?
Cancer research relies on the donation of biospecimens (cells, fluids, and tissues) from patients with or at risk of cancer. If you choose to donate samples, they will be very valuable for research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. By allowing us to store your biospecimens, you can contribute to cancer research, such as helping scientists to discover better treatments, and better ways of detecting cancer earlier. Your participation has the potential to help change people’s lives in the future.
What will my biospecimens and information be used for?
The aim of the Alfred Cancer Biobank (ACB) is to work with patients, clinicians, and researchers to build a large collection of specimens and information about people with solid cancer. Samples in the ACB may be kept for many years and accessed when they are needed by other researchers.
Because information and specimens stored in the ACB are collected for future research, it is not possible to say exactly which projects the specimens may be used for. However, only projects that contribute to our knowledge and treatment of solid cancer will be approved.
If you agree to take part, you can choose to donate any or all of the following to the Alfred Cancer Biobank:
- Tumour tissue
- Cerebral spinal fluid (CSF)
- Information about your health.
Do I have a choice?
It is entirely your decision whether you give us permission to collect, store and use your samples. Your treatment will not be affected in any way whether you decide to participate or not.
If you change your mind at a later date and no longer want your samples to be used in research, you can withdraw consent without giving a reason at any time – just let us know.
Are there any risks?
Possible risks of a blood donation include faintness, pain, bruising, or bleeding at the site of collection. There is also a slight possibility of infection.
There are no risks in donating urine, saliva and faeces.
Fresh tumour samples will be collected at the same time as your routine treatment (such as surgery and biopsy); the collection of leftover tissues and/or CSF will not pose any additional risk to you. No additional biospecimens will be taken for the ACB, unless you agree to donate these specifically in follow-up visits.
If you agree to undergo additional biopsies performed via Computed Tomography (CT) imagery, you will be exposed to a small amount of radiation. The total radiation dose from three additional CT-guided biopsies would be only slightly above the yearly dose to which we are all exposed as part of everyday living. At this dose level, no harmful effects of radiation have been demonstrated. The risks associated with radiation exposure from voluntary CT-guided biopsies are considered very low.
How will the Alfred Cancer Biobank protect my privacy?
Your samples and health information will be stored safely, securely, and anonymously by the ACB. Although the biobank keeps a record of who has donated a sample, all samples are kept anonymous using code numbers, not names or personal details. As such, when your materials or information are released to other researchers, they will not be able to find out who you are.