INNOVATION FUND Innovation, Integration, & Implementation Cancer Care SHOWCASE 2016 INNOVATION FUND Innovation, Integration, & Implementation Cancer Care SHOWCASE 2016

Construction of a brain tumour bank and patient registry at St. Michael's Hospital

Cancer Care


Sunit Das


Division of Neurosurgery, St. Michael’s Hospital, University of Toronto

Iryna Pshonyak

David Munoz


We have successfully formed a CNS Tumour Bank and Patient Registry at St. Michael’s Hospital. To date, we have accumulated tissue and data on over 200 patients. This repository has enabled work that proved to be critical to four manuscripts currently accepted for publication or in review and has fostered collaborations with multiple local, national and international partners. It will also serve as the foundation for an OCIR grant application in the Department of Laboratory Medicine. Our work has synergized with a program initiated at the University level to bank CNS tumour tissue. The endeavour will allow the construction of a multi-institutional resource to drive research. St Michael’s Hospital has taken a lead in this University-wide effort. We will continue to bank patient tumour tissue and record clinical data as described in our current effort, with the goal to accrue a resource that can fuel research and discovery.



Brain tumors are associated with significant morbidity and mortality.  In particular, glioblastoma, the most common primary brain tumour in adults, caries a grim prognosis: with aggressive treatment including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, median survival is about 14 months.  The range of survival, however, is wide, suggesting that individual differences in patients with glioblastoma are relevant to outcome. Indeed, while considered a single pathologic entity, on a molecular level glioblastoma is remarkably heterogeneous. This diversity likely accounts for differences seen in tumour behavior and in tumour response to therapy.

Our understanding of the biology of glioblastoma has grown greatly with the employment of genomics and bioinformatics. These studies depend on the availability of tethered clinical and biological data, namely, patient outcomes data and tumour tissue. Investing in the foundations needed to accrue these resources will be necessary to drive our scientific understanding of glioblastoma and improve outcomes for patients with this disease. Toward that end, we propose to construct a patient registry and biobank to house clinical data and tumour tissue from patients at St. Michael’s Hospital who are diagnosed with tumours of the central nervous system (CNS).  We have now collected tumour tissue, DNA and RNA from over 400brain tumour patients. This resource will be a foundation for collaborative research at St. Michael’s, and will position St. Michael’s to play a leading role in the international brain tumor community.

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