Breast Cancer Tissue Bank in the UK and Ireland | Breast Cancer Campaign

Tissue Bank: Unlock the Cure

“The Breast Cancer Campaign Tissue Bank is key to enabling the most important research happening in our lifetime - taking 15 years of innovation, and boiling it down into the next five years. This is the best way we have to cure breast cancer."

Professor Alastair Thompson, Chair of the Tissue Bank

With more than 50,000 people being diagnosed each year, breast cancer remains the most common cancer in the UK and the number of new cases is increasing every year.

Survival rates have improved dramatically in the last 20 years, but the UK still lags far behind some other European countries.

World class research, rapidly translated into patient benefit, remains vital to our vision of curing the disease and as a result, Breast Cancer Campaign has always funded bold and pioneering research.

When the world's leading scientists told us that the biggest barrier to rapid progress was a lack of access to high quality tissue, we were determined to remove it by launching The Breast Cancer Campaign Tissue Bank.

Tissue samples are the closest a scientist can get to the actual disease before testing in patients, so a huge amount of breast cancer research relies on significant volumes of high quality samples.

By increasing access to such samples, we will accelerate research; and by standardising the collection of tissue, results will be more reliable, bringing greater benefits to patients, faster.

What's happening?

We have already successfully brought together five leading NHS Trusts and breast cancer research institutions to create the Breast Cancer Campaign Tissue Bank:

  • the University of Leeds
  • the University of Nottingham
  • the University of Dundee
  • the Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University, London
  • the University of Sheffield

Two further sites will be joining in 2013.

The Tissue Bank is already providing high quality breast tissue samples to scientists to carry out cutting edge research to help find a cure and in the first 12 months following opening, we granted access to over 3000 tissue samples.

Our aim

Expertise and collaboration

Our aim is to create a worldwide network of leading research and clinical institutions that will one day make up The Breast Cancer Campaign Tissue Bank, creating a global tool for breast cancer research.

Patients’ goodwill and tissue

We hope that every woman in the UK diagnosed with invasive and non-invasive breast cancer will one day be able to donate their tissue and information, and help scientists across the world to unlock the cure.


We need to raise at least £10 million to establish and run the Tissue Bank for the first five years.

  • £4 million has been contributed by ASDA through the support of colleagues and customers over the last three years through their Tickled Pink campaign
  • £2 million in total has been received from Walk the Walk grants

This incredible support has underwritten the development and pilot of this vital initiative to this point and the Tissue Bank is now open to all scientists across the UK and Ireland.

Unlock the Cure

To ensure we are able to provide research scientists with the necessary tools to continue their research, we need to raise the remainder of the £10 million over the next two years.

Find out how you can help.

We are also delighted to have the support of the Unlock the Cure Appeal Board to ensure we reach this ambitious target.

Visit the Tissue Bank website

Share this page

Most Read

Get In Touch

Address: Clifton Centre, 110 Clifton Street, London EC2A 4HT

Main Switchboard: 020 7749 4114

Media Enquiries (Office Hours):
020 7749 4115

Media Enquiries (Out of Hours):
07436 107914