The MCRC Biobank is licensed by the Human Tissue Authority (licence number: 30004) and has been ethically approved as a research tissue bank by the South Manchester Research Ethics Committee (Ref: 07/H1003/161+5). A suite of standard Patient Information Sheets and Patient Consent Forms have been developed and approved and informed patient consent will always be obtained before patient samples are taken.
The Biobank holds what is known as generic ethics approval. This confers approval to anyone using samples from the MCRC Biobank, so researchers do not need to obtain their own ethical approval for relevant projects using Biobank samples. This centralised management of all ethics and regulatory requirements is of great advantage to researchers. Recent changes in human tissue research legislation mean that researchers are no longer allowed to have their own tissue collections under broad ethics approval. They must either be collected and used under project-specific ethics approval with defined endpoints (a new ethics approval is required for each project) or through a research tissue bank under licence from the HTA, which requires a robust infrastructure. The MCRC Biobank addresses this by taking care of all governance and administration centrally - ensuring researchers have easy access to biological research samples that are of guaranteed high quality.