Tommy’s National Reproductive Health Biobank

Tommy’s research centres have collaborated to create a single biobank to inform more life-saving research and studies.

WATCH: About the Tommy’s National Reproductive Health Biobank

The Tommy’s National Reproductive Health Biobank was established in 2018 and gives researchers access to a large database of biological samples that can be used to find new ways of diagnosing, treating and preventing pregnancy complications. Biobanks have revolutionised treatment for other conditions, such as cancer, and we hope that the Tommy's biobank will do the same for miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth.

What is a biobank?

A biobank is a collection of biological samples that are used in research studies. Our biobank collects tissue samples from women and their babies before, during and after normal or complex pregnancies. The samples donated by patients are linked to medical history, pregnancy outcomes and information about the baby’s health through Tommy’s Net, which is a database that holds the pregnancy and medical records of nearly 3,000 women.

Our biobank allows researchers across the country to ensure that the biological samples they use during clinical trials are consistent and of high quality. It also means that crucial data is easy to find and easily searchable.

Where is the biobank based?

Tommy’s research centres have worked together to create the national biobank, combining samples, data and expertise from across the UK.

Data is currently collected from seven biobanks at the following centres:

Tommy's National Biobank structure
Biobank structure

What difference will this biobank make?

The Tommy’s National Reproductive Health Biobank is helping researchers to share samples and data more effectively, making it much easier to study pregnancy complications in large groups of women. Currently, our researchers are using samples from the biobank to carry out over 20 studies, including several that are looking at problems with the placenta and others that are exploring the importance of nutrition in pregnancy. The vast amount of research that the biobank is enabling will help scientists to find new causes and personalised treatments for miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth, helping more women and birthing people to have a healthy pregnancy.

This will help us find ways to save more babies’ lives.

"Tommy’s exists to make pregnancy and birth safer for everyone; but we still have so much to learn to identify who is at high risk. By understanding this, we can personalise our approach to each person and give them more effective and better care. The Tommy’s National Reproductive Health Biobank brings together data from our leading research centres and will enable us to find new ways to save babies’ lives.”
— Kath Abrahams, Tommy's CEO