What kinds of samples are stored in the biobank?

There are roughly one million human biological samples stored in Auria Biobank, a considerable proportion of which are cancer samples.

Biobank samples are collected in connection with normal health-care and medical examinations. They are stored in the biobank until they are needed for research.

The samples assigned for research are always encoded, which means individual donors cannot be identified from the samples. Upon completion of the research, the raw data collected or the sample-specific, analysed results are returned to the biobank. This means the information connected to the sample “accrues interest”, and the sample or the research information it has provided can be used in subsequent research.

Sample collections

Tissue samples

Auria Biobank’s sample storage contains close to a million FFPE (formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded) tissue samples that have been collected at Turku University Hospital (TYKS) since 1930.

The samples are stored in a dry environment at room temperature in compliance with TYKS’s Pathology Unit’s diagnostics requirements.

PSA serum samples

The urological outpatient clinic’s sample collection of diagnostic serum samples taken from men who underwent PSA screening at Turku University Hospital in 1996 and 1997 has been transferred to Auria Biobank. The collection includes more than 10 000 serum samples. The samples have been divided into units of 450 µl, and the biobank assigns them for medical research upon request.

The samples are stored at a temperature of -80°C.

EDTA blood samples

The objective is to take a 10 ml EDTA blood sample from every patient who has given their consent to Auria Biobank. The sample is centrifuged, after which the plasma is divided into six units of 450 µl and the white blood cell fraction, or ‘buffy coat’, is divided into two units of 450 µl.

The samples are stored at a temperature of -80°C.


What do biobanks have to offer? A researcher answers that question

The biobank offers histological samples and the valuable data they contain for use by researchers, aids in collecting research material and ensures high research standards. The head of the oncology outpatient clinic at TYKS, Sirkku Jyrkkiö, explains the role of the biobank in an ongoing cancer research project that aims to determine the clinical applications of DOTANOC-PET/TT scans in imaging different types of cancer.

Turku’s PET Centre has spent several years researching the application of DOTANOC-PET/TT in imaging cancers.

It has already been established that the method is well-suited to imaging neuroendocrine tumours, since such tumours contain an abundance of somatostatin receptors, to which the DOTANOC tracer binds. The current biobank research aims to determine how the tracer fares in imaging other tumours.

For example, it is sometimes difficult to obtain a tissue sample from a tumour inside the abdominal cavity in order to confirm the type of cancer. For that reason, it is important to determine the specificity of a DOTANOC-PET/TT scan.

More reliable cancer research thanks to the biobank

A study by the TYKS oncology clinic and the PET Centre focuses on imaging lymphoma patients to determine whether there are somatostatin receptors in lymphoma that can be detected with a DOTANOC-PET/TT scan.

Biobank research is part of this broad research programme. The biobank’s sample archive enables receptor assays for several different lymphoma subtypes, which provides a more reliable picture of the expression of somatostatin receptors in different types of lymphoma.

The biobank’s electronic data register can additionally be used to determine the predictive value of receptors by correlating the expression of the receptors in samples with the patients’ survival data. At the same time, it can be determined whether isotope therapy aimed at somatostatin receptors can be applied to the treatment of lymphoma.

From a researcher’s point of view, the biobank offers a clear channel of contact and aids in defining the research question and identifying and collecting research material. The biobank clarifies the authorisation procedures related to the research. The biobank brings histological samples within the reach of all researchers, and at the same time ensures that the research being conducted with the aid of the samples is of a high standard and promotes basic cancer research and treatment of cancer.

Sirkku Jyrkkiö,
Head of the Oncology Outpatient Clinic, TYKS



Kiinamyllynkatu 10, 20520 Turku, Finland

PL 52, 20521 Turku, Finland

+358 50 578 0815



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