Tissue bank

The Tissue bank is a member of the Victorian Cancer Biobank, providing researchers with ethically collected, high quality human tissue, blood and data samples for their investigative projects; it also supports clinical trials at Peter Mac by processing and storing blood and tissue specimens in accordance with trial-specific protocols.

Human tissue samples

After consenting patients, Peter Mac’s Tissue bank takes annotated specimens of human tissue that are not required for pathological testing. These samples are then "snap frozen" to ensure that ice crystals do not distort the arrangement of cells, and formalin fixed and paraffin embedded (FFPE). The embedded tissue is then sliced into very thin sections. These samples are divided, labelled and grouped for use in research studies, classified by tumour type and subtype, and as cancerous or benign.


The Tissue bank also prepares tissue microarrays (TMAs), by taking a core ("punching" a hole) through layers of a single FFPE tissue block, across many different sample blocks and combining the cores in one TMA block. Thin sections are then cut from this TMA block, allowing researchers to analyse for a particular gene expression from many different samples in a single experiment, quickly and efficiently.

Blood samples

Blood samples are collected from consenting donors and separated and stored as mononuclear cells, buffy coat, plasma and serum. The Tissue bank also extracts DNA from tissue and blood products, allowing researchers to look at DNA derived from tumour tissue to identify changes that occur in cancer. They can also look at germline DNA, from blood samples or normal tissue, to determine if a cancer is inherited or acquired.

Contact Information and Facility Use

Any combination of the Tissue bank’s 14,000 samples is available to researchers who have the appropriate Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) approval for their research project.

Researchers can access the resources and expertise of the Tissue bank through the Victorian Cancer Biobank.

Facility staff


Samantha Cauberg

Research assistants

Jhoseph Marquez

Mira Liu

Ashely Rudge


Lan Zhang