The Institut Paoli-Calmettes and CRCM associated Tumor Bank / Biological Resource Center in Oncology

IPC has long established the practice of collecting and storing human tissues and cells from cancer patients, and thus provide a resource for translational and clinical research to the onsite scientific community. The tumor bank was established as an independent and joint infrastructure in 2000, sharing the cryopreservation equipment with the cell therapy facility. Since then, it has improved its operations through the implementation of SOPs, the installation of a digitalized inventory, the diversification of tissue and cell processing procedures including a shared facility for the automated isolation of nucleic acids. With additional support from Inserm, Agence Nationale de la Recherche and Cancéropôle PACA, the hospital infrastructure worked towards the ISO 9001 certification as well as IBISa recognition.

In this endeavor, the IPC Tumor Bank has joint forces with its AP-HM University Hospital counterpart, and more recently with the joint University Hospital – Comprehensive Cancer Centre (CHUN-CAL) Tumor Bank in Nice. The two Marseilles Tumor Banks established a common strategy to build significant collections of appropriately and clinically annotated biological samples, jointly prepared the ISO 9001 certification, and have worked together to  favor access to molecular profiling platforms, allowing innovative translational studies to be performed, including genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic tumor typing. The two biobanks are an important component and facility of the newly created Marseille SIRIC.

The two Biobanks (IPC and AP-HM) currently have more than 80,000 samples in store (tissue, blood cells, serum, DNA, RNA). Up to 17,940 samples from the biobank were used for research or medical care in 2010.

The two biobanks store and distribute samples of human origin that are representative of different groups of cancers:

•    breast cancer, gastro-intestinal and pancreatic carcinomas,haematological malignancies at IPC •    brain tumours, sarcomas, prostate cancer and lung cancers at AP-HM. These biological resources are available to research groups that conduct basic or translational programs in the field of oncology.

The two Marseille Tumor Banks teamed up with the CHUN-CAL tumor Bank in Nice, to produce the first “virtual” tumor bank in France: the Cancéropôle PACA Tumor Bank  ( allowing for online multicriteria searches in a catalogue of anonymized biological resource. Together, the three PACA Tumor banks received support from the IBiSA organization in 2008, in order to improve the quality of samples and annotations.

  • Number of new samples stored in 2010: 13,914
  • Number of samples used in 2010: 17,940

Procedure to request access to biological samples

1.    Submission of the request to the COS

An abstract (if possible in French) should be addressed by mail to the DRCI  including a motivation letter (specifying if a grant has been obtained for this project or not) and a list of the samples required for this project  (using the biobank's request form below).

Prior agreement of the Medical Doctor's in charge of the relevant pathology is required.

2.    Request for access to biological samples
Upon receipt of the COS's consent, please address the following elements by email to

-    motivation letter to the COS
-    description of the research project
-    description of the biologcial samples required for the project
For internal requests (IPC/CRCM): once it is approved, the request is faxed back to the scientist in charge of the project to inform him/her that the samples are available for collection.

3.    Publication

All biological material from the biobank used for research must be mentioned in the research publications. This is important for the biobank's annual report and for its funding. Please use the phrasing below:

« Samples of human origin and associated data were obtained from the IPC / CRCM  Tumour Bank, that operates under authorization # AC-2007-33 granted by the French Ministry of Research (Ministère de la Recherche et de l’Enseignement Supérieur). Prior to scientific use of samples and data, patients were appropriately informed and asked to consent in writing, in compliance with French and European regulations. The project was approved by the IPC Institutional Review Board (Comité d’Orientation Stratégique, COS) ».

Management & contact: Pr Christian Chabannon

Biobank coordination: Didier Bechlian & Lise-Marie Billard-daufresne (General contact mail)

Date of creation: 2000

Authorization number: AC-2007-33 (IPC) from the French Ministry of Research - ISO 9001 certified since 2008

Location: IPC

Staff (IPC and others): 1 MDs, 2 staff scientists, 5 technicians, 1 secretary