Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Hi, I recently read that there were funding cuts to the Biobank. The article I read indicated that there were staff cuts and that there was an end to tissue collection. http://www.edmontonsun.com/2016/05/01/alberta-tumour-bank-reducing-staff-and-service-after-loss-of-funding The Alberta Cancer Research Biobank, more commonly known as the “tumour bank,” has stopped taking new samples and laid off five staff members after seeing its budget cut by more than half. 1. Does this mean that there will be no more ongoing tissue collection from citizens with cancer? Is this a permanent operational change? -Won't this impede the development of targeted therapies for patients with specific cancers? -What about the problems for researchers who want to do longitudinal or epidemiological work? -How can AHS justify this loss of research material for both patient treatment problems and research difficulties? I mean if targeted therapies are to be developed these tissues are essential and how does the government of Alberta justify the lack of tissue samples to ensure that patients receive the right treatment?

Who makes these poor decisions in AB? Surely they can't be folks with zero science backgrounds? Otherwise how would it even be possible for the Pure North Foundation folks to get $14.2 million for dubious alternative health program requirements while the Alberta Cancer Research Biobank gets cuts? What the heck? Who was responsible for this short sighted decision? And how soon can this decision be reversed?
LikeShow more reactions
Comment
Comments
http://www.edmontonsun.com/2016/05/01/alberta-tumour-bank-reducing-staff-and-service-after-loss-of-funding

Alberta 'tumour bank' reducing staff and service after loss of funding



FIRST POSTED: SUNDAY, MAY 01, 2016 05:45 PM MDT | UPDATED: MONDAY, MAY 02, 2016 08:48 AM MDT
Cross Cancer Institute in EdmontonCross Cancer Institute in Edmonton. (Larry Wong photo)
Article
Share

Topics

A medical research service that collects and freezes tumours removed from cancer patients is facing questions about its future after losing its main funding source.
The Alberta Cancer Research Biobank, more commonly known as the “tumour bank,” has stopped taking new samples and laid off five staff members after seeing its budget cut by more than half.
The remaining budget is being used to maintain the current collection of 1.5 million tumours and fluids, which are split between storage facilities in Edmonton and Calgary.
“The model we are going to operate on with the bank is going to be a little bit different,” said Dr. Matt Parliament, senior medical director with CancerControl Alberta. “It will be a little bit leaner and it will not continue to grow as it has in the past.”
Established in 2001, the service has been largely funded by the Alberta Cancer Foundation, which has been providing annual grants of about $2 million in recent years. Earlier this year, the foundation informed Alberta Health Services it would not be renewing the contributions, leaving the health authority to shoulder the costs.
A spokeswoman for the foundation did not provide an exact reason for the move, but said funding decisions are often based on the ability to raise philanthropic support, and an evaluation of priorities to drive improved care for patients.
Parliament said AHS decided it couldn’t replace all the funding that was lost but wanted to at least maintain access to the “incredible resource” that had already been built. He said the biobank’s samples, which are all from Alberta patients, and can last indefinitely because they are stored in liquid nitrogen at temperatures around -80 C.
Edmonton’s storage site is at the Cross Cancer Institute, while Calgary’s part of the collection will be moved shortly to the Richmond Road Treatment Centre.
“Researchers can take those samples out of the bank and do experiments to look into the inner workings of the cancer cells,” Parliament said. “They might do DNA sequencing or look at mutations of cancer, to basically broaden the knowledge of cancer.”
The repository is used by about two dozen researchers each year, who must pay fees to access the samples, he said.
Lab technicians accounted for most of the layoffs, four of which were in Edmonton and one in Calgary.
Parliament said additional job losses were planned for Calgary, but staff there managed to find other positions. He said the same may happen in Edmonton, as AHS is trying to find new jobs for the people affected.
The cuts at the biobank are somewhat ill-timed, occurring the same month Mayor Don Iveson announced ambitions to make Edmonton a bigger hub of medical research, innovation and technology.
kgerein@postmedia.com
twitter.com/keithgerein



From: Julie Ali <
Date: Tue, May 16, 2017 at 11:12 PM
Subject: Re: FW: inquiry from the media
To: Kristin Whitworth <Kristin.Whitworth@albertahealthservices.ca>


Hi,

I recently read that there were funding cuts to the Biobank.

The article I read indicated that there were staff cuts and that there was an end to tissue collection. 



The Alberta Cancer Research Biobank, more commonly known as the “tumour bank,” has stopped taking new samples and laid off five staff members after seeing its budget cut by more than half.



1.    Does this mean that there will be no more ongoing tissue collection from citizens with cancer? Is this a permanent operational change? 

-Won't this impede the development of targeted therapies for patients with specific cancers?
-What about the problems for researchers who want to do longitudinal or epidemiological work?

-How can AHS justify this loss of research material for both patient treatment problems and research difficulties? I mean if targeted therapies are to be developed these tissues are essential and how does the government of Alberta justify the lack of tissue samples to ensure that patients receive the right treatment?
2. If funding has been cut for the collection of the samples what other sources of funding can be accessed to ensure this work of collecting tissue samples continue?
3. How does the Alberta Biobank work with the other provincial banks?
4;. Who accesses the material?

5. Can you provide me with the financial information for the Biobank? I want to know its total budget, the number of staff remaining and the costs for the service. Please don't ask me to FOIP this information as it is in the public interest to know this information and should be in the public domain to begin with.

6. Once I know the money trail I will be writing to Ms. Hoffman and company at the GOA for answers to further questions such as does no one understand that drug therapies that have been developed to date for eg. for breast cancer depended on the presence of a bank of tissue samples collected by scientists and so why is the government ignoring the need for financial support for the Biobank which acts as this source of samples?

These are some of the areas I want to write about but funding is the top issue. 


sincerely,

Julie Ali

On Fri, Apr 28, 2017 at 9:39 AM, Kristin Whitworth <Kristin.Whitworth@albertahealthservices.ca> wrote:
Hi Julie

I am with AHS Communications. I understand you would like information on the biobank. Can you provide a little more information on what you’re looking for?

Thanks

Kristin



Kristin Whitworth BPR MAIPR
Senior Communications Advisor
Provincial Programs
Alberta Health Services
tel: 403-943-1201  cell: 403-671-4397

Follow us on Twitter @AHS_CancerCare

pr-oral-health-month






Email: 

Comments:
Hi,
I recently read of the funding cuts to this program. Can you provide more information?
I am writing about the importance of this biobank.
Sincerely,
Julie Ali

http://www.edmontonsun.com/2016/05/01/alberta-tumour-bank-reducing-staff-and-service-after-loss-of-funding
--
This e-mail was sent from a contact form on the Alberta Cancer Research Biorepository website (www.acrb.ca)


This message and any attached documents are only for the use of the intended recipient(s), are confidential and may contain privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, retransmission, or other disclosure is strictly prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please notify the sender immediately, and then delete the original message. Thank you.

No comments:

Post a Comment