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Why do we need an Erasmus MC Tissue Bank

For better understanding how disease development starts and therewith discover better methods for cure, we cannot do without medical research on tissues collected from the affected areas. Comparing tissues representing different stages with each other and not affected tissues, we can discover so much more. Nowadays many techniques are available to study many characteristics at once and compare these with each other. Such studies are often based on research on DNA,RNA and Proteins, which can be isolated from these tissues. In combination with the knowledge on the structures present within tissues, that can be studied with the microscope, these techniques form a powerful weapon in  the combat against diseases.

On a Pathology department all these techniques come together and are already used in routine diagnostics in the best care we can offer today. However, there is so much to learn to improve health care even more, where studying tissues is a necessity. A tissue bank in the Pathology department is therefore a must for every academic center. The tissue bank takes care for freezing little samples from left over tissues after material is taken for routine diagnostics with an slightly adapted process resulting in high quality samples fit for purpose for medical research. Moreover the tissue bank takes care for making these tissues and the archival tissue that have been used for diagnostic purposes in the proper way available for medical research.

With the newly discovered characteristics in DNA,RNA and Protein, new biomarkers can be revealed and further developed that can better predict:

  1. Further disease development
  2. Treatment response 
  3. Treatment adverse effects

In addition, potential new drug targets can be discovered. Correlations can be made only if the tissues  and the corresponding medical data are available. The tissue bank makes sure the data is properly coded before it goes into the medical research.

Unfortunately it costs quite some time to make sure the new discoveries do work as expected in the routine care and can be used in routine care. It can very well be that tissues used from a patient who will not benefit from the medical research. However, the level of current treatment is also based upon the observation of biomaterials of others who could not benefit. Moreover the susceptibility for almost all diseases is imbedded in our genome making relatives and next of kin the ones that may benefit.