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Frequently asked questions

Have a question that is not covered here? Get in touch with us.

FAQs relating specifically to aplastic anaemia can be found here

Why are CellBank collecting samples?

CellBank collect samples of bone marrow, peripheral blood and CSF to add to our bank of the best quality material for use in research into improving the diagnosis and treatment haematological cancers.  

How do I collect samples for CellBank?

Before collecting samples, it is important to have completed the CellBank Sample Information Sheet as fully as possible.  Please include the date and times of samples and posting, along with your contact details in case we have a query.

Bone marrow
3-5 ml of bone marrow should be collected in the yellow-capped ACD tube.  Stick the barcode with the yellow stripe on the tube and the corresponding duplicate barcode in the yellow box on the Sample Information Sheet.

Peripheral blood
3-5 ml of peripheral blood should be collected in the purple-capped EDTA tube.  Stick the barcode with the purple stripe on the tube and the corresponding duplicate barcode in the purple box on the Sample Information Sheet.

10 drops (if available) should be collected in the blue-capped falcon tubes.  Stick the barcode with the blue stripe on the tube and the corresponding duplicate barcode in the blue box on the Sample Information Sheet.

What if I don't have all three samples?

This isn't a problem - just send us whichever samples you have and return any empty tubes for re-use.

How do I send samples to CellBank?

Samples should be packed into the Safeboxes provided and posted the same day. 

  1. Place sample tubes in the spaces in the absorbent packaging, seal in the plastic bag and place in the clear compartment of the Safebox
  2. Place the completed Sample Information Sheet in the other compartment
  3. Close the lid and wrap the adhesive label around the Safebox
  4. Attach the label, ensuring you complete the return address and add the address label
  5. Samples should be posted to:

         UK Biocentre. Units 2&3 Java Park, Bradbourne Drive, Tilbrook, Milton Keynes, MK7 8AT

How do I send samples taken on a Friday?

To maintain quality, samples taken on a Friday should be sent to our storage facility at UK Biocentre using a courier.

To request a courier, email with your collection details and contact details and a courier will be arranged.

Samples should be packaged into the Safebox as usual and the consignment sheet provided by the courier should be completed and marked for Saturday delivery.

My samples were taken late on a Thursday - should I post them?

If you have missed the last post on a Thursday, or if you routinely hold clinics on Thursday afternoons, keep the samples overnight and send to us by courier on Friday for processing on Saturday.

What about samples taken at the weekend or on Bank Holidays?

If samples are taken at the weekend, keep them refrigerated until they can be packaged and sent in the post on Monday.  Unless otherwise informed, samples taken on Bank Holidays should be refrigerated and packaged and posted on the next working day.

Separate arrangements will be made at Christmas, New Year and Easter.

Do patients need to be on a clinical trial to donate samples?

All children and young people with a haematological malignancy may donate samples to CellBank, irrespective of whether they are part of a clinical trial or not.

At what age can children give consent?

Under the Human Tissue Act 2004, children and young people who are 'competent' may provide consent to the storage and use of tissue for research, regardless of their age.  A parent may give consent if this is what the child prefers or if there is doubt about whether the child understands enough to give informed consent.  In most cases, you will ask parents of children below the age of 18 to provide consent as well as asking children and young people themselves if competent.

What do I do with the completed consent form?

Once consent has been given place the completed consent form in the patient's notes.

How does CellBank know that patients/parents have given consent?

We are notified about patient consent from the following sources:

  • CellBank Consent Form
  • CellBank Sample Information Sheet
  • 'CellBank' box on the ALL2011 MRD request form (where relevant)

What happens if a patient/parent withdraws consent?

If consent if withdrawn for any reason, please let us know as soon as possible by emailing us via  All samples that have not been used in research projects will be destroyed and all stored data will be deleted.  CellBank will provide confirmation when this occurs.