Magazine article about partner

Biobank Graz: A treasury for oncology research

A recently published article by Onko News Austria (Springer Medicine) informs scientists about the extraordinary resources that partner Biobank Graz harbours for research. Its extensive collection of 21 million human samples makes it one of the largest biobanks in Europe.

Biobank Graz, located at the coordinator Medical University of Graz, holds an extensive collection of paraffin-embedded tissue and 440,000 blood samples from oncologic patients and the associated clinical data. Samples are stored according to international ISO quality standards and the applicable data protection laws and can be accessed for research purposes as well as the re-evaluation of cases. Of course, samples may only be used for research if an informed consent and a positive vote from the ethics committee is given.

In the context of oncological research, the large number of tissue and fluid samples stored at Biobank Graz is especially useful for the detection of new biomarkers for early screening and for a more specific diagnosis and prognosis of cancer.

For example, in a project lead by Director Prof. Kurt Zatloukal and scientifically supported by Dr. Heimo Müller, 44,000 whole slide images of histological colorectal cancer slides from the D&R Institute of Pathology at Med Uni Graz that are stored in the Biobank Graz were investigated. From these, a machine learning algorithm was developed to find that adipocytes in close spatial relationship to the tumor cells were correlated with a worse prognosis for the patient.