Information for researchers

Information for Researchers

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

The HSA Biobank stores all types of tumour tissue for all types of cancer research, as well as linked health data for each sample. Specimens are stored in the UNSW Biorepository at UNSW Sydney and are accessible to cancer researchers anywhere in Australia and internationally, with a valid Human Research Ethics Committee approval.

Our Biospecimens

The HSA Biobank currently holds over 13,000 tissue specimens from more than 3200 patients. These are collected from public and private hospital patients in the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD).

A snapshot of cancer types represented in the HSA Biobank collection is shown in the chart.

Biospecimen types stored in the HSA Biobank

  • DNA/RNA extracted from fresh/frozen tissue
  • Tissue sections from Formaldehyde Fixed, Paraffin Embedded (FFPE) tissue blocks
  • DNA/RNA from bone marrow aspirates
  • Plasma, DNA or RNA from peripheral blood
  • Stool samples
Data stored in the HSA Biobank
  • Demographic information sourced from hospital records
  • Clinical diagnosis and tumour morphology sourced from pathology reports
  • History of health services and prescriptions sourced from Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) records
Steps for access to HSA Biobank specimens and data

Contact the HSA Biobank Project Manager to discuss your requirements such as:
  • type and quantity of samples required
  • what linked clinical data is required
  • any other details relevant to your project
  1. APPLY
Once it has been confirmed that resources are available to support your project you must lodge a formal application using the HSA Biobank application form.

In parallel, you will be required to provide evidence of ethical approval for your project, which may include a brief amendment stating that you will be accessing de-identified samples and data from the HSA Biobank. The Project Manager can advise you on this.
The application will be reviewed by members of the HSA Biobank Research Access Committee (RAC) for scientific merit. This aids the HSA Biobank to ensure limited resources are used appropriately for research.
Should your research be conducted outside UNSW Sydney, a Materials Transfer Agreement will be required.
Upon approval the HSA Biobank will prepare the specimens/data requested and specimens will be shipped when ready. De-identified data will be provided electronically.
Costs to researchers
The HSA Biobank operates on a cost recovery basis so researchers only pay for the cost of satisfying their research request. An estimate of costs will be provided upon initial application followed by a quote when your project has been approved by the RAC.