Biobanking Resources

Since 2011, the Confederation of Cancer Biobanks now CM-Path Biobanking group has been working with members of the biobanking community to develop and harmonise standards that can be used by biobank staff to assure the quality of the samples and data that they hold. CM-Path Biobanking has been working with members of the biobanking community to develop Standards that can be used by biobank staff to assure the quality of the samples and data that they hold. Although led by CM-Path Biobanking, the standards developed are designed to be generic to all biobanks and tissue collections, irrespective of the disease focus.

CM-Path Biobanking group has published two Standards. The Quality Biobank Standard covers the quality management of a biobank and is supplemented by a separate Data Standard.

» Quality Biobank Standard (PDF)

» Data Standard (PDF)

External Resources

The CM-Path Biobanking group aims to support the learning and information needs of the cancer biobanking community through providing access to electronic resources, which complement member-hosted events and enable biobanks to support research.


Access to samples

Tissue Directory is one area of focus for the UKCRC Tissue Directory and Coordination Centre. The purpose of the directory is to capture the UK’s capacity and capabilities in collecting data and samples to the benefit of research. The Tissue Directory is now open for researchers and organisations who are custodians of samples to register their collections.

» UKCRC Tissue Directory and Coordination Centre (external website)


Donating tissue for research

Access policy sample
The Confederation of Cancer Biobanks developed a template for access policy development. The template provides researchers and organisations that hold bio-samples with practical guidance to creating a policy that will enable them to share their bio-samples with other researchers. The content of the template was informed through consultation with research funders, regulatory bodies and biobanks, as well as researchers, healthcare providers and patient representatives. A template data and material transfer agreement is also included in the document.

» Template for access policy development, 2009 (PDF)

» Consultation to develop the Access Policy Template, 2008 (PDF) 

» Summary of consultation responses 2008 (PDF)


Ethics and governance

Regulatory framework
Biobanking activities should comply with all applicable regulation in the UK, as well as any other relevant legislation or regulation.

» Human Tissue Act 2004 (external website)

» Human Tissue Authority Codes of Practice, England and Wales (external website) 

» Data Protection Act 1998, England and Wales (external website) 

» Human Tissue Act 2006, Scotland (external website)

Research conducted with human tissue samples requires ethical approval.

» National Research Ethics Service (NRES) (external website)


Training materials

Research and human tissue legislation e-learning module
Designed for researchers working with human tissue but of interest more widely, the MRC Regulatory Support Centre’s Research and human tissue legislation e-learning module provides an overview of human tissue legislation in the UK; practical tips for compliance; what constitutes best practice and where to find help.

The module was developed in consultation with the Human Tissue Authority, National Research Ethics Service, Scottish Government and others, and is free to all. It takes around 45 minutes

» MRC Research and Human Tissue Legislation, e-learning module (external website)