Information for BROCADE donors and their families

Unfortunately, despite best available treatment, breast cancer sometimes spreads to other sites in the body such as bones, lungs, liver and brain, and becomes resistant to treatment.

BROCADE has been established to support breast cancer research, and aims to understand how breast cancer spreads and why it becomes treatment resistant. The information gained through BROCADE-supported research may also aid our understanding of other cancers.

During life, obtaining tissue samples of breast cancer that has spread to different organs is often difficult. Biopsies may be painful for the patient, or not possible due to the location of the tumour. Through BROCADE, we seek permission to obtain and study samples of tissue from patients who have recently died of breast cancer. We hope that this will provide important information to help design more effective therapies for cancer patients in the future. Tissue donated to BROCADE will be stored in a biobank and will only be made available to researchers after a rigorous review and approval process.

What is Involved in Being a BROCADE Donor?

  1. When a person decides to donate tissue to BROCADE, our team sets up communication with the clinical team looking after them. In that way, BROCADE remains discretely in the background and follows the health of the donor. We establish communication with hospitals, hospices and community palliative care professionals, depending on where the potential donor chooses to stay for their care.
  2. A BROCADE donor or their family members can get in touch with the BROCADE team at any time.
  3. When a BROCADE donor's health deteriorates and they are close to death, our team makes sure that everything is in place to enable tissue collection.
  4. When a BROCADE donor passes away, we organise for the Tobin Brothers Funeral Directors to collect the donor from the place of death and transport them to the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine as soon as the family are ready to release their loved one. Transport is only organised when everyone is ready for this to happen.
  5. Breast cancer tissue is collected by the pathologist and processed as soon as possible by the BROCADE team so that it can be used in a range of research projects. Typically, this will be between four and 12 hours after the donor has died.
  6. The BROCADE donor is then returned to the care of the funeral director chosen by them and their family. The whole process is usually completed within 24 hours of the person passing away.

We know that occasionally a person may change their mind about being a BROCADE donor. Donors can withdraw their consent at any time. Should their family not wish for the donation to take place after their loved one has died, BROCADE will not proceed with tissue collection.

Who can I contact to ask questions and get more information?

You can speak to your Peter Mac doctor or another member of your treatment team. They will be able to answer many of your questions. You can also contact Lisa Devereux, the BROCADE Manager, if you or family members have any questions about being involved in BROCADE, or if you wish to provide any donor updates.


Lisa Devereux, BROCADE Manager

Office phone: (03) 8559 6532

24 hour contact phone: (03) 8559 6821

Email: [email protected]



Lisa Devereux, Cancer Research Division

Locked Bag 1, A’Beckett Street

Melbourne VIC 8006