Background and History

Background and History

The ACRB is a consortium of Open-Access and investigator-led programs that sharing physical and human resources in Calgary and Edmonton. The primary stakeholders include the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) Tumour Bank, Alberta’s Tomorrow Project and Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Research (CEPR); these members have a common goal of supporting cancer research across the continuum in Alberta.

Confluence of the three Alberta Health Services Cancer-Related Biobank Operations.

The foundations for the CBCF Tumour Bank were laid over ten years ago by members of the Alberta cancer research community. In 2001, the former director of the Cross Cancer Institute created the PolyomX program. Funded by the Alberta Cancer Foundation, the PolyomX program aimed to collect and store diverse human biospecimens from cancer patients to support a comprehensive research. In 2008, the scope of the program was shifted through a co-funding partnership with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CBCF and the Alberta Cancer Foundation and the PolyomX program was rebranded as the CBCF Tumour Bank and the focus was directed towards developing an integrated and centralized biobanking service. This program has been incorporated into the biobanking operations of the ACRB, and is referred to as the Cancer Biobank. To date, the Cancer Biobank has collected blood, tumour tissue and/or other bodily fluids from 20,000 cancer patients.

Also in 2008, Alberta’s Tomorrow Project launched an ambitious provincial program to collect, process and store biospecimens as well as demographic and health and lifestyle-related information from a target of 50,000 Albertans aged 35-69 years who, at the time of enrollment, had not had a diagnosis of cancer. In addition to consenting to biobanking, participants also consented to be followed actively or passively through linkage with administrative health databases, for up to 50 years.

In addition to these two ‘Open-Access’ programs, researchers from Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Research (CEPR) make a substantial contribution to the existing biobank and work with the Cancer Biobank to collect Breast and Colorectal cancer biosamples.

The collaboration between these three cancer-related biobanking programs in Alberta (the Cancer Biobank, Alberta’s Tomorrow Project and CEPR) has successfully cooperated through shared infrastructure and biobanking programs.