The only unequivocal radiological effect of the Chernobyl accident on human health is the increase in thyroid cancer in those exposed in childhood or early adolescence. In response to the scientific interest in studying the molecular biology of thyroid cancer after Chernobyl, the Chernobyl Tissue Bank was established. The project is supported by the governments of Ukraine and Russia, and financially supported (in total around US$3 million) by the European Commission, the National Cancer Institute of the USA and the Sasakawa Memorial Health Foundation of Japan. The project began collecting a variety of biological samples from patients on 1 October 1988, and has supplied material to 21 research projects in Japan, the USA and Europe. The establishment of the Chernobyl Tissue Bank has facilitated co-operation between these research projects and the combination of clinical and research data provides a paradigm for cancer research in the molecular biological age.
Copyright © 2011 The Royal College of Radiologists. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.