Newcastle Biobanks



Our biobanks are places where collections of human tissues, cells and blood are stored ready for use in medical research.

Biobanks are in hospitals, universities, research institutions and private companies. A biobank can contain many different types of biological samples e.g. tissue samples, DNA and blood.

It may also contain information such as:

  • health records
  • diet and lifestyle information
  • family history of disease
  • gender 
  • age
  • ethnicity

Researchers need to access and test large numbers of samples to get good results that are statistically accurate. We cannot collect all these samples at once. They need to be saved up over time and stored in a biobank so that researchers can test them in batches. This makes the best use of equipment and time. It also makes comparisons easier for the researcher. See the video below for more information on Newcastle Biobanks.

Governing Biobanks

The use of human tissues in medical research is tightly regulated. The Human Tissue Auhtority (HTA) are a government body that regulate the storage of human tissues. Each organisation with a biobank must have a licence from the HTA which allows them to store samples with generic consent for lots of different tests. Collections are regularly reviewed and audited to ensure they follow the regulations. 

Research Ethics Committees govern the use of human tissue samples. These committees ensure that donations are collected in an ethical and sensitive way. They also ensure that the samples are put to good use. For more information on the oversight of the biobanks, visit the governance part of this website.