Get Involved

The GU BioBank is a research program offered to participants who are seen for their urologic health at the UHN or for healthy volunteers. Through tissue, blood and/or urine sample donations, we aim to better understand urologic diseases and in particular, cancer. Our process involves finding participants, collecting tissue, blood and/or urine samples, and releasing the samples for research.

Contact Us today to get involved!

If you decide to donate biospecimens to the GU Site BioBank, you will be asked to sign a consent document indicating that you agree to have your sample banked for future research.  Samples will be collected at the same time as your standard of care so you will not have to make any additional visits to the hospital to donate. You will be asked to complete a questionnaire at time of consent and at five year follow-up. The questionnaire will take you five to seven minutes to complete.

After the first donation, you will have additional samples collected periodically at your follow-up visits or when there is a change in your treatment plan. A BioBank staff member or your physician will advice you during a clinic visit if those additional samples are requested. Your medical record will be reviewed by the GU BioBank to see what changes in your treatment have occurred.

Your samples may be studied to learn how cancers and diseases develop and progress. You will not know for which purpose your samples are eventually used and your identity will be kept confidential. Only studies that have obtained ethical and scientific approval from the UHN Research Ethics Board will be permitted to use material from the GU BioBank.

Possible physical risks of a blood draw include faintness, inflammation of the vein, pain, bruising, or bleeding at the site of puncture. There is also a slight possibility of infection.  There are no risks in donating urine.

As per our confidentiality policies, the hospital, medical team and the GU BioBank will take every security precaution to prevent the researchers that are using your biospecimen from obtaining any information that identifies who you are.

You will not benefit directly from donating samples to the GU BioBank or from the use of the samples in future studies. You will not receive any financial payment for participating in this research initiative.

The research that is eventually carried out on your donated samples is not designed to produce information that would be medically useful to you as an individual, although it may produce results that are useful to others with your condition in the future.

Whole genome sequencing (WGS) is an additional option you can agree to. It is a specific type of genetic/genomic research that determines the exact order of the base pairs (chemical letters) in your genetic make-up (the sequence of your genome). If your specimens are used for this type of research in the future, the researchers may discover information about inherited changes in your DNA. The incidental research findings may not be important for your current care but they may be important in the future or important for the health of other family members.

The uninterpreted WGS research data may be released for publication in restricted access databases, thus limiting access to the general public, and enabling access to relevant members of the international research community.

While enabling research studies at the University Health Network (UHN) is a main priority for GU BioBank, we do occasionally collaborate with investigators outside of UHN, including for–profit organizations. The use of your samples and data could lead to new medical or genetic tests or new products by a university or hospital, or company. This means that researchers, including commercial companies, may benefit financially. You will not derive any personal financial advantages from this commercialization.

The samples you donate will be stored indefinitely for future research purposes, unless you notify the GU BioBank that you want your samples to be destroyed. If you do change your mind, and wish to have your samples removed, simply contact the GU BioBank and advise them of this decision and the samples will be destroyed. If some of your samples have already been given to a researcher at the time you withdraw your consent, it will not be possible for those particular samples to be destroyed. In this situation, all remaining samples held within the GU BioBank would be destroyed, and no further samples would be collected. You may decide that you do not wish to donate further samples, but you will allow the existing samples that have been collected to remain with the GU BioBank. Your medical treatment would not be altered in any way if you were to decide to withdraw your consent, or if you were to ask for your samples to be destroyed.