The Wales Cancer Bank (WCB) was publicly launched in Cardiff today. The WCB is an all Wales initiative to create a tissue bank of samples from patients in Wales with possible or confirmed cancer. Eventually, it is hoped that all patients in Wales who are undergoing an operation to remove tissue where cancer is a possible diagnosis will be participants in the bank. Those involved believe the WCB will be unique as it will be the first such centre to collect samples on a national scale.

The All Wales Research Ethics Committee has approved the creation of the WCB. All patients will be asked for their consent to participate. Normal and cancerous tissue will be collected and correlated with clinical outcome information for the patient. The information can then be used in large-scale studies where hundreds of samples are needed to find meaningful results. As Health Minister Jane Hutt explained, The aim is to achieve a greater understanding of cancer and to be able to provide better treatments for patients with cancer. This initiative clearly demonstrates our commitment to developing a scientific evidence base to form the basis of our fight against cancer. The WCB also sees the bank encouraging biotechnological development in Wales.

Four NHS Trusts in Cardiff, Swansea, Haverfordwest and Bangor will pilot the project. The WCB will also work in conjunction with other similar projects in Europe. It has received endorsement from patient support groups and celebrities such as Huw Edwards and Ioan Gruffudd.