Biobanking of specimens, tied to clinical data, is as fundamental to research into the diagnosis of cancer as it is critical for research into new therapies.
At this blog, we’ve covered news on several cancer-focused biobanks, such as the Southern Swedish Malignant Melanoma group, the PROCURE biobank and the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network. These biobanks and large-scale studies have played a key role for decades in the development of modern diagnostic methods that are more specific and less invasive than ever before.
But how do we know these new diagnostic methods are valid and applicable across varied populations?
As you’ll find in our new eBook , the “proof” is in the prospective validation, and biobanking of samples as part of large-scale cohort studies enable researchers to access the hundreds of thousands of samples and associated clinical data needed for this validation.
The eBook, titled Detecting Cancer Early: A Unique Biobank Presents a Unique Opportunity, describes how the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS) established a biobank of unique serum samples from half a million donors, all of which are available to researchers around the globe. The result of the UKCTOCS Study was a statistical algorithm that allows diagnosis of ovarian cancer at stage 1 with 99.9 percent specificity, when treatment results in a greater than 90 percent five-year survival rate. In addition, the biospecimens and data in another biobank allowed a study at MD Anderson to confirm the 99.9 percent specificity of the algorithm to predict ovarian cancer from biomarker measurements.
No wonder more biobanks are being established to further cancer research!
From a scientific standpoint, biobanks and trials like these are hugely important. Researchers have long been frustrated by failure after failure to find biomarkers that allow diagnosis of cancer at a very early, more treatable stage; the availability of large numbers of biospecimens and clinical data, potentially combined with statistical methods, may represent a breakthrough in our ability to detect cancer at its earliest stages.
To learn more about the ways biobanking and large-scale trials are helping scientists understand cancer and validate tests that save lives every day, please download our new eBook, Detecting Cancer Early, available here.