Research Institute in Oncology and Hematology




For More Information:

Michelle Parisien
Data Manager
Tel: 204-787-1446
Email: Manitoba Tumour Bank

Contact Us:

Research Institute in Oncology and Hematology
675 McDermot Ave
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3E 0V9
Phone: 204-787-2137
Fax: 204-787-2190
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Manitoba Tumour Bank

What is the Manitoba Tumour Bank?

The Manitoba Tumour Bank is a collection of tissue and related clinical data. The Bank operates within the Department of Pathology of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and University of Manitoba, and CancerCare Manitoba. The Bank was originally established by the National Cancer Institute of Canada in 1993 with funds from the Canadian Cancer Society and is now supported by CancerCare Manitoba Foundation in partnership with the University of Manitoba and the Canadian Tissue Repository Network (CTRNet). The Bank provides an important resource both for breast cancer research at the University of Manitoba and for researchers across Canada and internationally.

What does the Manitoba Tumour Bank do?

During the assessment of each biopsy specimen small tissue samples are taken by Pathologists to process and examine under a microscope and these samples are then stored as a clinical archive. After all diagnosis has been completed, the Bank organizes these tissues and related clinical data into 'cases' for both future research and future clinical purposes and stores these 'cases' in CancerCare Manitoba. Researchers can apply to study these cases only through a review process and if they obtain approval for their research project from an institutional ethics review board. If approved, researchers are provided with tissue sections and the related clinical information from a set of typically 100 or more 'cases'. These cases are carefully selected from the computer database on the basis of selection criteria such as size and type of tumour that are relevant to the research question under study. All cases are distinguished by a Tumour Bank number but are anonymous due to the absence of any tag that might allow it to be traced to an individual patient. Researchers are charged to cover the costs of storage and release but no tissue or information is sold. The Bank has supported over 50 research studies on cancer across North America and Europe. For more information on the operational procedures, please go here.

What information is stored and released?

The Bank stores three types of information on each case within a secure location in CancerCare Manitoba. This information relates to the tissue, clinical, and follow-up information. Tissue information includes the composition of the tissue, the size and type of tumour. Clinical information includes the patient age, clinical symptoms and the results of clinical tests such as x-rays. Follow-up information includes the type of treatment after surgery and the response to this treatment. Information is never released from the Bank with any label that might allow it to be traced to an individual. Information is only released as part of a set of anonymized cases, where each case is labelled by an anonymous tumour bank number and consists of a section of tissue with related information.

Accessing the Tumour Bank

Projects that use the resource fall into two general categories: i) Projects initiated by members of the Manitoba Breast Cancer Research Group and other academic researchers in Manitoba, ii) Projects initiated by external academic users in Canada, in the USA, and in Europe. For both categories access to the MBTB involves three phases described here. Local academic users receive first priority. However, the MBTB design and philosophy has ensured that for over more than a decade of operation, external users have almost equivalent access.


With the renewal of the Manitoba Breast Tumour Bank by CIHR in 2006, came an expanded mandate to collect from other disease sites. To date, the bank has accrued 55 Head and Neck cases, 80 lung cases with matched paraffin and frozen blocks. The Tumour Bank also developed standard operating protocols for collection and banking of prostate cancers and normal breast tissues from reduction mammaplasties. This collection began December 2009. To date, the bank has accrued 60 prostate cases and 30 normal breast tissue cases.

MBTB Application Form

Links to Other Canadian Tumour Banks:

RIOH gratefully acknowledges the generous support of

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