The Genito-Urinary (GU) BioBank at The Princess Margaret was built in 2008 to support research at the University Health Network. The GU BioBank consists of a central repository of biospecimens obtained from consenting participants attending clinics within the GU Oncology division of The Princess Margaret.
The scientific community is increasingly turning to renewable and easily accessible sources of biomarkers of disease to carry out their research. Biomarkers can help us identify patients at risk of disease, diagnose when disease is present, determine the likelihood of aggressive disease, or predict what treatment is best suited for a particular patient (maximizing effectiveness and minimizing side effects, also known as personalizing medicine). We aim to discover new diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers so that we can achieve the ultimate goal of personlized medicine and improved outcomes for GU oncology patients.
Blood and urine samples obtained from patients have incredible utility in cancer research studies (ie. genomics, proteomics, epidemiology), especially when large numbers of such specimens can be accumulated in a short period of time. Since 2008, the GU BioBank has accrued hundreds of thousands of specimens and associated clinical data from more than 8,000 consenting participants. The GU BioBank thus provides a large and ready pool of specimens from which investigators can begin or validate their research discoveries, thus vastly decreasing the window of time from study start-up to adoption of new diagnostics, prognostics, and therapeutics in clinic. The ultimate goal of the GU BioBank is to aid in personalizing medicine and to improve health and well-being for GU oncology patients.
To the right is an example of one of the liquid nitrogen storage tanks used to store and preserve the tissue samples we collect.