For Patients

For Patients


Donation of tissue and blood to the Northern Ireland Biobank (NIB) is a gift and we are very grateful to all patients who consent to donate. Further information is available in the Patient Information Sheet.  Patients who consent will complete a Patient Consent Form.  The NIB does not retain any personal information which can easily identify you.  If you do not wish to donate samples to the NIB this will not affect your routine care in any way.  When researchers are provided with samples for their projects, the samples will be labelled with a unique NIB number or code on them so no-one can be identified by their samples.

Patients who consent to donate samples and subsequently change their mind can withdraw consent at any time by contacting either the research nurse who originally consented them or the NIB Administrator. NIB will withdraw all samples still in storage and dispose of them appropriately. If consent is withdrawn after more than four months some of the samples may have already been issued to researchers.  If a patient expresses specific wishes regarding the disposal of their samples NIB will endeavour to accommodate those wishes wherever practicable in association with the local NHS Trust responsible for the patient’s diagnosis and operative care.

The NIB is licensed appropriately as a research tissue bank by the Human Tissue Authority (Licence No 12044 and 12229). The collection, storage and issue of biomaterials to cancer researchers has been ethically approved by the Office of Research Ethics for Northern Ireland (OREC NI, Ref. No 16/NI/0030). The Belfast Health & Social Care Trust and Queens University Belfast are co-sponsors of the NIB.


Why does Northern Ireland need a tumour bank?

Blood and bodytissue samples are vital for cancer research.

Many developments in cancer treatment come from doctors and researchers looking at blood and tumour samples in the laboratory.



Researchers may use them to:-

  • Find out how cancers develop in order to try and prevent them
  • Find new ways to diagnose cancer
  • Find new ways to treat cancer
  • Develop and test new drugs
  • Try and work out which treatments work for particular groups of patients
  • Find better ways of controlling side effects and symptoms

The relatively stable population in Northern Ireland makes it an ideal place to collect and study samples.

Additional information