Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) began its own biospecimen bank in 1998. The MIA Biospecimen Bank underpins hundreds of approved research projects at MIA and through collaborations which aim to improve our understanding of tumour biology for better prevention, diagnosis and management.
In addition to collecting samples, the MIA Biospecimen Bank also records information from any pathology reports associated with the samples and accesses information in our Melanoma Research Database about the health and treatment of the patients who donate their specimens.
The MIA Biospecimen Bank takes our research capacity to another level. It is the largest collection of melanoma tissue samples in the world, donated by over 10,000 patients so far and growing daily. These samples add enormous value to the clinical story of our patients and drive our discovery and translational research.
Personalised diagnosis and treatment of melanoma would mean that we know what to test for and what treatment to give in each case, and it is the research conducted on these tissue and blood samples that gives us these insights. The fact that our collections extend back into the past, so that outcomes are known, makes them all the more valuable.
For example, the Biospecimen Bank inspired the Institute to launch the Australian Melanoma Genome Project, which is mapping the entire genome of 500 melanomas. This internationally ground-breaking project could simply not have taken place without the MRD and the Biospecimen Bank.
Patients have the choice to contribute their tissues and researchers do not receive identifying information.
The MIA Biospecimen Bank is supported by grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC) grant and Office for Health and Medical Research NSW Health. It also receives support from Macquarie University and donations to MIA.