Biobanking at AURA

Biobanking at AURA

The purpose of the biobank at AURA is to establish an archive of biological material from dogs and cats with a variety of diagnosed cancers.  This archive will allow researchers from around the world to undertake a variety of investigations into tumour biology, allowing the discovery of biomarkers and possible treatment solutions in the future. 

Why does AURA have a Biobank?

Cancer is a complicated disease. Every tumour cell will have its own genetic fingerprint that is unique, and confers unique behaviours. However, across a larger population we can often identify some common threads of behaviour e.g. in the ability for a tumour to spread more readily, to recur after surgery or other attributes that may impact on survival. Biobanking enables the preservation of frozen biospecimens from a large population of tumour-bearing patients, so the genetic fingerprint of these traits can be identified in the future. Biobanking is now viewed in human medicine as an essential tool in the modern landscape of the genetic, medical, and behavioural sciences. 

Will my pet benefit from the Biobank?

There will be no immediate benefit to an individual animal who has tissues stored in the Biobank. Any analyses will performed some years in the future, so there will be no discoveries that will impact on the treatment or prognosis that an animals receives now. Our hope is that future generations of animals will gain a better chance of living free of cancer, or allow us to offer newer or better treatments.

What happens after my pet’s tissue has been stored? 

We will continue to follow the health of every animal who has tissues stored in the Biobank to find out if they are still alive and free of cancer, or if there has been a change in their condition. At some time in the future, you might be contacted by research coordinators at AURA to answer some questions about how your pet is progressing after his/her treatment. This information will be stored in a database associated with the 

All of your personal information would be held by AURA in strict confidence with careful controls, and no identifiable information about participants would be available to anyone outside of AURA. 

Who will be able to use my information and samples? 

Each patient will be issued with a unique ID for the biobank, and any stored material will only be identified with this ID number, together with the species, tumour type and tumour location. The Biobank archive database will be maintained on the company secure server, with password access to only a limited number of individuals, including the research technicians at AURA. None of your personal details will be retained within this Biobank database. 

Can I withdraw by permission in the future if I want to do so? 

The Biobank will be most valuable if few people do withdraw from it. However, you can withdraw your consent for inclusion in the Biobank at any time with the following options: 

“No further contact”
This means that AURA BIOBANK personnel would no longer contact you directly, but we would still have your permission to retain and use information and samples obtained previously and to obtain and use further information from your pet’s health records.

“No further access”
This means that AURA BIOBANK would no longer contact you or obtain further information from your pet’s health records in the future, but would still have your permission to use the information and samples provided previously. 

“No further use”
This means that, in addition to no longer contacting you or obtaining further information about you, any information and samples collected previously would no longer be available to researchers. AURA BIOBANK would destroy your samples (although it may not be possible to trace all distributed sample remnants) and would only hold your information for archival audit purposes. Your signed consent and withdrawal would be kept as a record of your wishes. Such a withdrawal would prevent information about you from contributing to further analyses, but it would not be possible to remove your data from analyses that had already been done.