Kolling Institute Tumour Bank

The Kolling Institute Tumour Bank has developed a large and valuable resource to assist research and improve health outcomes. The team manages human biospecimens for a broad range of cancer research.

The tumour bank is is a joint venture between the University of Sydney and the Royal North Shore Hospital, Northern Sydney Local Health District.

It receives partial funding from government and philanthropic sources. This year it has received funding from the Cancer Institute NSW through the Sydney Vital grant and the Brain Cancer Group. The tumour bank is certified by the NSW Health Pathology Biobank Certification Program.

The Kolling Institute Tumour Bank has formed strong collaborations with a network of surgeons, clinicians, nursing, theatre, pathology and administrative staff across our three collection sites. These teams help us facilitate research into neurological, endocrine, breast, gynaecological, pancreatic, liver, upper gastrointestinal and colorectal tumours.

The biospecimens are de-identified but linked with relevant health data to provide approved researchers with high quality anonymised specimens. The tumour bank also houses a Healthy Volunteer Bank of blood samples for researchers to compare with known disease samples. It is also a collection site for the INOVATe Study and the ALKternate clinical trial.

The Kolling Institute Tumour Bank collection currently has over 35,300 biospecimens and 10,500 patients who have consented for research use of their specimens collected during surgery. The KITB Ethics approvals cover collections at Royal North Shore Hospital, North Shore Private Hospital and The Mater Hospital, North Sydney.

The Kolling Institute Tumour Bank supports internal and external researchers, contributing to both local and international studies. Researchers applying to access biospecimens complete a standardised application. Projects undergo scientific review by a panel of independent reviewers. This process determines whether the application is scientifically sound and feasible and a priority for use of the material currently available. All researchers must have current HREC approval for their project before submitting their application. Researchers seeking further information should refer to the links below.

Management Group


Angela Chou
NSW Health,
Royal North Shore Hospital

Anthony Glover
Clinical Senior Lecturer,
Surgery, Northern Clinical School
University of Sydney

Mark Molloy
Professor and Lawrence Penn Chair of Bowel Cancer Research, Northern Clinical School
University of Sydney

Deborah Marsh
Discipline of Medical Science
University of Technology, Sydney

At the core of the Kolling Institute Tumour Bank is the dedicated team of professionals who work to ensure the quality of all the human biospecimens issued to research.

This specially trained team is involved in the preliminary assessment of cases to determine suitability for banking and patient consents. They work alongside surgeons and clinical pathologists to collect, process and store the biospecimens in line with best practice guidelines, and then appropriately match these biospecimens with ethically approved projects.

Ussha Pillai
Senior Tumour Bank Officer

Gary Pan
Biobank Officer

Samuel Yuen
Biobank Officer

The Kolling Institute Tumour Bank works in partnership with oncology surgeons, clinicians and researchers and sources biospecimen from three prominent collection sites in New South Wales.

Collection Sites:

Northern Sydney Local Health District

  • Royal North Shore Hospital

St Vincent’s Health Australia

  • Mater Hospital, North Sydney 

Ramsay Health Care

  • North Shore Private Hospital

For more information:

Please visit the Kolling Institute Tumour Bank page at the Sydney Vital website https://sydneyvital.org.au/biobank/


Office: (02) 9926 4771
Email: kolling.tumourbanks@sydney.edu.au

This invaluable resource is not only essential in facilitating research but is improvement focused, continually growing and adapting to cater to evolving researcher needs.

Featured Projects

Collaborative Broadening of Biobank Practices

Professor Deborah Marsh and Dr David Nevell were awarded a grant from NSW Health Pathology to pilot a biobank focused workflow through the Royal North Shore Hospital Anatomical Pathology Laboratory. This project was a collaboration with NSW Health Pathology, NSW Statewide Biobank, the tumour bank and Anatomical Pathology at Royal North Shore Hospital. The aim was to determine the feasibility of embedding the collection of research biospecimens in Anatomical Pathology by piloting a mutually beneficial biobank workflow.

Real-Time Data Capture to Enhance Annotation

The Kolling Institute Tumour Bank collaborated on the Cancer Institute NSW Biobanking Stakeholder Network project to enable near real- time data capture using electronic medical records. As part of this project, the tumour bank gained approval to perform data-linkage with health data kept by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Data-linkage involves bringing together information from a host of different sources to fill in any gaps in local hospital medical records. This in turn, provides researchers with a richer dataset to work from and allows them to draw more accurate conclusions from their results. Collaborative relationships such as this facilitate the sharing of varied experiences and knowledge, improving practices throughout the biobanking industry.

Developing eConsenting in Response to the Pandemic

Patient consent is paramount for biobanking activities, as collections are driven by informed face-to-face interactions between our staff and prospective donors. Without patient contact, sample collection would discontinue, with major ramifications for future research capabilities using donated biospecimens. In response to the COVID-19 restrictions, new remote consenting methods are being developed. In consultation with our partnering public and private hospitals.

Information for Researchers

The KITB houses an extensive range of fresh frozen tumour and normal adjacent tissue, formalin-fixed paraffin embedded tissue, tissue slides, whole blood and separated blood components. Please refer to the following links or see our contact details below for any enquiries:

Frequently asked questions for researchers
How researchers apply for access to material stored in the Kolling Institute Tumour Bank
Application Review Process

Featured Publications

SELDI-TOF MS Analysis of Hepatocellular Carcinoma in an Australian Cohort

Journal of Surgical Research, Volume 238, June 2019, Pages 127-136.
Steven M Schlichtemeier, Christopher B Nahm, Aiqun Xue, Anthony J Gill, Ross C Smith, Thomas J Hugh

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a common cause of cancer death worldwide. Resection offers the best chance of long-term survival, but a consistent adverse prognostic factor is the presence of microvascular invasion (MVI). In this study, surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (SELDI-TOF MS), a high throughput method of analyzing complex samples, was used to explore differentially expressed proteins between HCC and adjacent nontumour liver tissue (ANLT). A panel of four proteins was identified with excellent discriminative capacity between HCC and ANLT. Of these, m/z 9961 was the only protein significantly associated with a known poor prognostic factor (presence of MVI) and survival (shorter disease-free survival).

Reciprocal Interplay of miR-497 and MALAT1 Promotes Tumourigenesis of Adrenocortical Cancer

Endocr Relat Cancer. 2019 Jul; 26(7): 677-688.
Nunki Hassan, Jing Ting Zhao, Anthony Glover, Bruce G Robinson, Stan B Sidhu

Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) has high recurrence rates and poor prognosis with limited response to conventional cancer therapy. Recent contributions of high-throughput transcriptomic profiling identified microRNA-497 (miR-497) as significantly underexpressed, while lncRNA MALAT1 (metastasis-associated lung adenocarcinoma transcript 1) as overexpressed in ACC. The aim was to investigate the interaction of miR-497 and MALAT1 in ACC and its functional roles in the process of tumourigenesis. In this study, it was demonstrated that miR-497 post- transcriptionally repressed MALAT1 while MALAT1 also competes for miR-497 binding to its molecular target, EIF4E (eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E). We showed that overexpression of miR-497 and silencing of MALAT1 suppressed cellular proliferation and induced cell cycle arrest through downregulation of EIF4E expression.
Furthermore, MALAT1 directly binds to SFPQ (splicing factor proline and glutamine rich) protein, indicating its multifaceted roles in ACC pathophysiology. This is the first study to identify the feedback axis of miR-497-MALAT1/ EIF4E in ACC tumourigenesis, providing novel insights into the molecular functions of noncoding RNAs in ACC.

Glioblastoma Recurrence Correlates With Increased APE1 and Polarization Toward an Immuno-Suppressive Microenvironment

Front Oncol. 2018; 8: 314.
Amanda L Hudson, Nicole R Parker, Peter Khong, Jonathon F Parkinson, Trisha Dwight, Rowan J Ikin, Ying Zhu, Jason Chen, Helen R Wheeler, and Viive M Howell

While treatment with surgery, radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy may prolong life for patients with glioblastoma, recurrence is inevitable. What is still being discovered is how much these treatments and recurrence of disease affect the molecular profiles of these tumors and how these tumors adapt to withstand these treatment pressures. Overall, our findings highlight the ability of glioblastomas to evade not only the toxic onslaught of therapy but also to evade the immune system; and suggest that a two-pronged approach may be needed, one treatment targeting the treatment resistance mechanism and another targeting the immune suppression.

Novel serum protein biomarker panel revealed by mass spectrometry and its prognostic value in breast cancer

Breast Cancer Res. 2014; 16(3): R63.
Liping Chung, Katrina Moore, Leo Phillips, Frances M Boyle, Deborah J Marsh, and Robert C Baxter

Serum profiling using proteomic techniques has great potential to detect biomarkers that might improve diagnosis and predict outcome for breast cancer patients (BC). This study used surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (SELDI-TOF) mass spectrometry (MS) to identify differentially expressed proteins in sera from BC and healthy volunteers (HV), with the goal of developing a new prognostic biomarker panel. This study has revealed five serum proteins which, in combination, can distinguish between serum from women with breast cancer and healthy control subjects with high sensitivity and specificity. The five-protein panel significantly predicts recurrence-free survival in women with ER-negative tumors and may have value in the management of these patients.

Click here for a full list of publications on the Sydney Vital website.

Kolling Institute Tumour Bank related information

For more information click here.
Tumour Bank Bulletin.

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