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ICCI Companion Animal Tumour Sample Bank

The University of Guelph Institute for Comparative Cancer Investigation (ICCI) has developed a unique resource that provides access to clinical specimens from naturally occurring cancers to the scientific community: The ICCI Companion Animal Tumour Sample Bank (CATSB). This repository facilitates retrospective analysis of cancer cases for which outcome data is available, providing a powerful tool for identification of biomarkers for more reliable prognostic prediction, and obtaining insight into the underlying causes of cancer.  The CATSB aims to promote basic and translational cancer research in the University of Guelph and elsewhere, with the ultimate goal of improving the lives of companion animals with cancer.   

Specimens of tumours and adjacent normal tissue are stored at –80ºC or colder in the following formats: OCT embedded (older samples only), flash frozen, and in RNA later®.  Samples of blood (serum,plasma and buffy coat) and urine are also collected and stored at –80ºC.  Tumour samples are also formalin fixed and paraffin embedded.  Diagnostic information and patient outcome are stored in a secure, advanced database, facilitating rapid retrieval of clinical details. 

For inclusion in the CATSB, informed owner consent must be obtained, and banking of tumour samples must not interfere with the clinical histologic diagnosis for the patient.  Aliquots of samples are available to qualified investigators for retrospective studies. We currently have almost 30000 aliquots from over 1850 unique cases, and cell lines from approximately 40 different cases. 

Samples stored in ultracold environments maximizes the integrity of biological components (such as nucleic acids, proteins, and metabolites).  Thus, samples from the CATSB are suitable for molecular analysis of nucleic acids, proteins, metabolites, and other circulating biomarkers.

As of January 2016, CATSB is registered in the Biobank Resource Centre, developed by University of British Columbia Office of Biobank Education and Research and the Canadian Tissue Repository Network, as well as the International Society of Biological and Environmental Repositories. Also click here to read an OVC news article on the CATSB!

Interested in how the CATSB can aid in your research?

More information on CATSB samples are available here.

Details on how to request samples are available here.

Please direct inquiries regarding the CATSB to

We were very pleased with the entire experience. Your response to our initial inquiry was very fast, much faster than others we contacted, and we were pleased with the assistance you provided and speed we were able to get the samples, including everything involving the MTA. The sizes of the samples were very generous and we were particularly glad to receive the additional aliquot of the smallest sample ‘without asking’! We have extracted RNA from fractions of the samples and got sufficient qualities for our desired analysis. We found working with the biobank to be a great experience.”

– GENEOSCOPY, Missouri