Newcastle Biobanks

Your Samples

Your Samples

Your sample may be processed so it can be preserved and safely stored until it a researcher wishes to use it in the laboratory.

How we process your sample

There are many ways we could process your sample. We can:

  • separate blood into different layers and then freeze these layers.
  • embed tissue in paraffin blocks to store at room temperature.
  • freeze your tissue in a preservative 

This processing prevents samples from being degraded by the environment once they leave the body. They can then be used by research scientists in the laboratory at a later time.

Centrifugation of blood samples

Sample Ownership

Your cells, tissues, genes and DNA belong to you. The Biobank acts as a custodian.

As part of the consent procedure you donate your sample for research, but you can withdraw your consent at any time.

We may make scientific discoveries to benefit everyone, using your samples, and those of other participants. Pharmaceutical companies can also patent new drug treatments developed using your samples. 

Biobanks are non-profit-making and only recover the cost of collection and storage. Some research groups using tissues may be in the commercial sector. These groups could use your tissues to develop drugs and treatments, from which they could make a profit.

You will not receive payment for donating tissue. Left over tissue is gifted, to promote medical research. The results generated will likely benefit future patients and the range of treatments available. It is unlikely that researchers working with your samples will discover anything that will directly relate to your care. 

Sample Security

We store frozen samples in the Central Biobank, freezer rooms and University laboratories. Only certain staff members can enter these freezer rooms and laboratories. The doors are controlled by card access, which limits admittance.

Samples stored at room temperature are also located in secure rooms. All patient information is held securely, on computers with access limited to appropriately trained staff.

At all times we keep spare, backup freezers at each temperature, so that if a freezer fails, we can immediately transfer the samples.

All freezers storing biobanked tissue are alarmed, so that even if something goes wrong at the weekend or in the middle of the night, staff will be alerted and will act quickly to protect the samples. If there is a total power cut to all freezers an emergency, a backup power supply will activate to keep the freezers running.