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Oxford Radcliffe Biobank (ORB) logo

What is a biobank?

Scanning a barcode on a sampleA biobank collects, stores, processes and distributes biological materials, such as blood and tissue, and associated data for the purposes of medical research. The ORB refers to these biological materials as 'samples'.

There is a strict legal framework regulating the collection, storage and use of Human Tissue, and all establishments handling such material must be licensed by the Human Tissue Authority. The Oxford Radcliffe Biobank operates under HTA licence 12217, held by the University of Oxford to permit collection, storage and processing of human tissue for research purposes.

All premises and collections licensed by the HTA are required to meet a set of published standards and guidelines for research governing how they operate, and the HTA conducts a program of inspection to ensure that these are met, or to establish where necessary an appropriate action plan to address any short-comings.

For more information about what the Oxford Radcliffe Biobank does, please see our Meet the team page.

Can I help?

The Oxford Radcliffe Biobank (ORB) mostly recruit patients receiving treatment within the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and occasionally other Trusts, and who are able to consent form themselves. More rarely, it is necessary to do research on samples involving patients who are unable to consent for themselves. We have specific information materials for this purpose. ORB also seeks to collect samples from healthy volunteers so that researchers can detect differences between healthy and diseased samples.

The decision to participate or not will not affect the treatment or care of prospective participants in any way.

The different types of patient information sheets, and further information for consultees in particular, can be found on the links below:

What will my samples be used for?

Your samples may be used by researchers from hospitals, universities or commercial companies. Research can take several years, so although you may see no direct benefits, samples can help in the development of new methods of diagnosis or treatment in order to improve the care of patients in the future.

Samples and data will be given only to projects that have been approved by the ORB/OCHRe Tissue Access Committee. This ensures that only researchers who have proven the methods and scientific value of their research will have access to your samples and data.

A representative list of projects utilising ORB-OCHRe samples or services is available on our ORB facilitated projects page

Patient Information Sheet

If you are asked whether you would like to donate samples to the biobank you will be given a copy of an Information Sheet to read, which gives more information about why you are being asked to agree to provide samples for use in research, and what would be involved should you decide to participate.

For examples of what these look like, see the links above.

Having read this information, you will have an opportunity to ask any questions you might have. If you agree you would be asked to complete a consent form or consultee declaration form as appropriate.

What if I change my mind, or limit how my samples and data are used?

When giving consent, you will have an opportunity to impose any conditions you wish to attach to the use of your samples and data. If the biobank can guarantee to ensure that these are respected, these conditions will be included in the data associated with the samples, which will be used only in accordance with your wishes. If however this is not possible, your sample will not be collected.

If you change your mind about the use of your samples and data you are free to withdraw at any time. Some of your samples may already have been used in research but we will destroy any unused samples if you request this.

GDPR Privacy Notice

To comply with European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements, we provide anyone being approached about agreeing to samples being collected and stored for health and care research with information on what personal information is being collected, and why, how and by whom it will be processed in the form of an ORB GDPR privacy notice, a copy of which can be downloaded using the link in this paragraph.