Joining RareCan gives you the ability to donate your tissue samples to the BioResource for medical research. This page explains what the BioResource is and goes into more detail about the different types of tissue samples that may be involved. Signing up does not commit you to donating tissue and you can cancel your membership at any time.


Information about donating cells and tissue

Opportunities to take part in research

People affected by rare cancer are at the heart of all that we do. RareCan gives its members the opportunity to volunteer to take part in research which can truly make a difference.

Samples Used in Research

Samples of use in research come in many shapes and sizes. These are just a few examples of the many types which may be involved.

Needle Biopsies

Small samples can be taken through the skin to make a diagnosis. Any left over can be useful or research.


These are small bits of tissue removed to make a diagnosis. Any material left over after tests have been done can be useful for research.

Urine & Faeces

Even though these are usually flushed down the toilet researchers will need permission to use these as they contain some of your cells.


Sometimes whole organs may be used in research- obtained at an operation or after death.

Tissue Removed at Surgery

In many cases there is tissue left over after an operation, once all the necessary routine tests are finished. This is a really important source of samples for research.


Consisting of white cells, red cells and plasma. Used in many research projects. Often obtained at the same time as blood taken for routine tests.

BioResource Overview

When you have an operation to remove a tumour there may be some tissue that is not needed for diagnosis. This tissue is potentially useful to researchers. With your agreement we will arrange for excess tissue to be collected, either immediately after your surgery, or from where it has been stored in the hospital. The tissue will then either be sent directly to researchers for immediate use, or be transported to our BioResource at Newcastle University, where it will be stored securely for use in future research projects.

Research teams can apply to our Independent Access Committee to use your tissue for research projects. When you complete the consent form you will be able to express your preferences for how your sample can be used, and you are free to withdraw from the BioResource at any time.

By creating our BioResource, we are aiming to:

  • maximise the opportunities for your tissue to be used in research.
  • make it easier for researchers to get access to the tissue they need for research projects.
    accelerate research into rare cancers.

To ensure the BioResource is a long-term, sustainable resource we have set RareCan up as a business that will charge research teams to use the BioResource. Revenue will be reinvested in RareCan, but may also be used to pay dividends to investors and incentivise staff.

For more detailed information, please visit the RareCan BioResource Donor Information page.

Consenting before giving samples

Making sure consent is fully informed

Because you have the right to determine what happens to your body it is essential that you give your consent before you donate samples for research.

To find out more about consenting before giving tissue samples, please click the button below.

Informed Consent