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Britain's first breast cancer tissue bank opens

By John von Radowitz

Britain's first breast cancer tissue bank has opened for business, supplying tumour samples to scientists around the UK.

Funded by the charity Breast Cancer Campaign, the bank has around 2,500 samples housed at four centres in London, Leeds, Nottingham, and Dundee.

The samples will help researchers gather vital information about different types of breast cancer which could lead to better diagnosis and treatment.

Previously, scientists could spend many months tracking down the right tissue samples for their research.

Science minister David Willetts said: "The Breast Cancer Campaign Tissue Bank is a fantastic example of how an innovative idea from researchers can become a reality. Collaborative working between the voluntary sector, universities and the NHS has culminated in a unique project that will not only make a real difference to scientists, but also has the potential to improve health and save lives."

Baroness Morgan, chief executive of the Breast Cancer Campaign, said: "Breast cancer researchers in the UK and Ireland have been crying out for this resource for many years. The Tissue Bank will provide a source of precious human breast tissue and puts an end to the serious access problems of the past."

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