Biobank Ireland Trust was founded in 2004 by Ciaran Flanagan and Professor Eoin Gaffney. A Vodafone Ireland Foundation “World of Difference” award in August 2008 enabled Blanaid Mee to work with Biobank Ireland Trust. With Eoin Gaffney she set up the St James’s Hospital Cancer Biobank in the Department of Histopathology. The new biobank adopted the same honest broker (neutral minders of the samples) policy and procedures kindly provided by the Beaumont Hospital / RCSI Biobank, and the Irish Biobank Network effectively began in these two hospitals. Cork and Galway University Hospitals have adopted the same policies for consent and sample access. Funding for Biobank Ireland Trust has not been obtained from government to date.
Four out of ten people will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetimes. The development of more effective, targeted treatments and tests for cancer depend on an increased understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in the initiation of each patient’s cancer, its spread, and its response or resistance to treatment. Large research studies using quality tissue from patients with cancer collected and stored in biobanks are needed to correlate biology with clinical outcome. This is the rationale for an Irish Biobank Network.
Biobank Ireland Trust in the media