27/01/2012 11:40 GMT

Breast Cancer ‘Tissue Bank' Opens

Britain’s first breast cancer tissue bank has opened, supplying tumour samples to scientists around the country.

The ‘Tissue banks’, funded by Breast Cancer Campaign, houses 2,500 tissue samples at four centres in London, Leeds, Nottingham and Dundee.

The samples will help cancer specialists gather vital information on different types of breast cancer which could help lead to better diagnosis and treatment.

The Tissue Bank follows a wide scale review involving over 50 of the world’s leading breast cancer researchers, who highlighted that the main restriction to progress further was a shortage of good quality skin tissue.

According to the Breast Cancer Campaign, there is currently no other large source of breast tissue available to scientists and doctors, like this on, anywhere in world.

"The Breast Cancer Campaign Tissue Bank is a fantastic example of how an innovative idea from researchers can become a reality. Collaborative working between the voluntary sector, universities and the NHS has culminated in a unique project that will not only make a real difference to scientists, but also has the potential to improve health and save lives,” says Science minister, David Willetts, reports Press Association.

Baroness Morgan, chief executive of Breast Cancer Campaign, adds: "Breast cancer researchers in the UK and Ireland have been crying out for this resource for many years. The Tissue Bank will provide a source of precious human breast tissue and puts an end to the serious access problems of the past."

Dr Julia Wilson, Head of Research at Breakthrough Breast Cancer told The Huffinton Post.

“Appropriate tissue samples for research are vital. It is important that a range of options are available to ensure that researchers have the samples they need. Initiatives like this can only help breast cancer research.”

The Tissue Bank currently comprises of four core centres at The University of Leeds, Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London, The University of Dundee and The University of Nottingham.

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