Information for Researchers

The HSA Biobank is a resource that supports translational cancer research across Australia.

Unlike many existing biobanks, the HSA Biobank stores all types of tumour tissue for all types of cancer research, and linked health data for each sample. It is stored in the Lowy Biorepository, UNSW and is accessible to cancer researchers with a valid Human Research Ethics Committee approval anywhere in Australia. 

Who Can Access the HSA Biobank?

If you have a valid Human Research Ethics Committee approval for your project, you can apply to access samples and/or data from the biobank.

You do not need to be linked to the Lowy Cancer Research Centre, any of the partnering hospitals or health care organisations, or to the University of New South Wales in order to access the bank. 

How Do I Access the Specimens or Data in the HSA Biobank?

  1. Download and complete a  Lowy Biorepository Specimen Application Form - a valid Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) approval must be attached, or intention to submit stated.
  2. Submit your application form. Email your completed form to
  3. Discuss your application with the Biorepository Manager. The Principal Investigators (PI) responsible for the HSA Biobank will be contacted by the Biorepository Manager to approve the access. The HSA Biobank has been established as a resource for bona fide research, and the PIs will generally seek to approve access, subject to availability of tissues suitable for the purposes of the study. If for any reason, the PIs and applicant are unable to reach an agreement, the applicant can defer to the Specimen Access Committee (SAC).
  4. Review your quote. Once access has been approved, the Biorepository Manager will generate a quote for the cost of retrieving samples and/or data.
  5. Sign a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA). An MTA will be provided to you by the Biorepository Manager and is required before samples can be released. Once the MTA has been signed by both parties, the project can proceed according to the agreed protocol. 

Fee Schedule for the HSA Biobank

Specimens and data are available on a cost recovery basis. A schedule of estimated costs is available in this Cost Recovery Schedule.

Samples and Data Stored in the HSA Biobank

The HSA Biobank team has approval to collect the following tissue samples and data from consenting participants:


Biological Sample

Collection and Transport

Processing and Storage
at Lowy Biorepository

Biospecimen and/or Data Supplied (At Cost)

Fresh/Frozen Tissue

Section transported immediately to Lowy Biorepository in RNA later

Tissue stored liquid-free, in vapour phase of liquid nitrogen

Supplied as extracted DNA or extracted RNA, as per researcher request

Formalin-Fixed, Paraffin-Embedded (FFPE) Tissue

Section transported to Lowy Biorepository as FFPE tissue block cassettes

Tissue stored at room temperature as blocks or tissue microarrays

Supplied as tissue sections (in tubes or on slides), extracted DNA, as per researcher request

Bone Marrow

Aliquot transported immediately to Lowy Biorepository

White blood cells separated and stored in liquid nitrogen and -80°C

Supplied as extracted DNA or extracted RNA, as per researcher request

Peripheral Blood

Collected in a 10mL EDTA tube and transported to Lowy Biorepository

White blood cells and plasma separated and stored as aliquots at -80°C

Supplied as plasma aliquot, extracted DNA or extracted RNA, as per researcher request

Cheek Mucosa

Collected as buccal swabs or saliva and transported to Lowy Biorepository

DNA extracted on receipt at Lowy Biorepository and stored as aliquots at -80°C

Supplied as extracted DNA only




Health Information

Data Source

De-identified Data Supplied (At Cost)


Hospital records

DOB, gender

Tumour Pathology Results

SEALS Pathology records

Clinical diagnosis, tumour topography/morphology

Medicare Benefits Schedule and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme Records.

Department of Human Services

Visits to health professionals and prescription medicines use.


What Are The Responsibilities Associated with Accessing the HSA Biobank?

The following acknowledgement statement should be used in the 'Materials/Methods' or 'Acknowledgements' section of your research publication

"Biospecimens and data used in this research were obtained from HSA Biobank within the Lowy Biorepository, Lowy Cancer Research Centre, UNSW Sydney Australia."

All publications resulting from samples and/or data should be reported to the HSA Biobank. A lay summary should be included to allow effective communication of findings with our participants.

Need Information About the HSA Biobank?

Please email your questions to the HSA Biobank Project Manager.