Evolving Foundations

Biobanking: How Oncology Nurses Can Contribute to Its Use

Lori Miller

Margaret Rosenzweig

biobanking, genetic sequencing, informed consent, rapid autopsy, precision medicine
CJON 2021, 25(6), 637-639. DOI: 10.1188/21.CJON.637-639

Biobanking is one of the most valuable tools in precision medicine. The ability of scientists to sequence tumors, blood, and normal tissue obtained from biorepositories has defined efficacious tumor targeting and a much better understanding of cancer pathology pathways. However, these biorepositories require a great deal of effort to establish and maintain. Oncology nurses are key in helping to bank tissue during routine procedures as well as complex surgeries. Nurses can obtain informed consent from patients and coordinate the banking of samples in a timely manner to ensure sample quality. Oncology nurses play an important role in informing patients of their biobanking options and connecting patients with the appropriate team for their biobanking needs.


  • Tissue from both healthy and malignant sites can help to better characterize metastatic cancer spread, increasing understanding of cancer pathophysiology.
  • Obtaining this tissue in adequate amounts can be done during surgeries, biopsies, and even after death if agreement is reached with the patient and family.
  • The process by which patients and families consent and participate, coordination of the tissue donation, and cooperation of clinical staff is complex and well suited to the oncology nurse’s skill set.
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