Chris O’Brien Lifehouse moves to cure cancer

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Scientists hope the opening of two new cryogenic tanks at a Sydney hospital will help them find a cure for cancer.

Tucked away at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, the state-of-the-art cryotanks are used to freeze a wide range of biological material.

The futuristic technology can store thousands of samples that scientists can use to hopefully find the next big breakthrough.

The tanks operate at a temperature of minus 196 degrees and are capable of holding up to 95,000 blood, tissue and plasma samples indefinitely.

“We’re ready to go, so we’re just waiting for that first shipment,” clinical research technical officer Marty Hynes told Nine News.

“[The samples] are able to be stored long-term and at this temperature it obviously increases the viability of those samples to be analysed further down the line.”

The research will be used to develop new cancer treatment that may one day help patients like Simone Georgiou.

The 40-year-old had her colon removed as well as her womb, and also underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy after being diagnosed with bowel cancer.

“Knowledge is power, so the more information you’ve got up front, the better you are to make the decisions earlier on…,” Ms Georgiou said.

Most samples from clinical trials previously have been sent to America, Asia or the United Kingdom.

But the cryotanks’ arrival at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse mean samples can now be stored locally and research can be done right here in Australia.

“What we would hope is that we will make discoveries that allow us to classify tumours better, to identify which tumours need treatment, and one day maybe actually develop a treatment based on it,” Chris O’Brien Lifehouse chief clinical officer Professor Michael Boyer said.

Researchers from Griffith University’s Institute of Glycomics will be the first to access the samples. They plan to analyse the changes that occur in sugar molecules on the surface of cancer cells.

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