Building a Breast Tissue Bank in Georgia

Thanks to the tremendous leadership of Winship's breast cancer team, the generous support of the Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation, and the benevolent spirit of our patients, Winship's breast tissue bank is making vital contributions to breast cancer research, treatment, and prevention.  The collection and storage of breast tissue samples taken during biopsies is a process that has long been used to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of the individual patient.  Winship has gone several steps further to create a comprehensive and coordinated database that can be used in clinical research and epidemiological surveys to better assess risk and address the needs of breast cancer patients.

Today, the vast majority of breast cancer patients seen at Winship consent to donating their tissue samples to the bank.  Cells from the extracted tissue are frozen and the sample is assisgned a number tthrough a custom data management system that protects the patient's confidentiality while still linking important health and demographic information.  The bank enables cancer researchers to compare data across multiple spectra and to evaluate cellular, genetic, environmental and behavioral information together, offering a better understanding of both the context in which an individual's cancer occurs and the nature of cancer across populations.  Winship's bank is particularly valuable because of their size and location--Emory sees over 1,000 breast cancer patients each year, and Atlanta's diverse community allows them to include information from minorities who have been historically underrepresented in research studies.  Winship is a dedicated leader in breast cancer research, and they are humbled to be able to offer this valuable resource to their colleagues across the nation.