Understanding COVID immunity in cancer patients

The first dose of COVID-19 vaccine was offered to cancer patients at Velindre Cancer Centre in January 2021. Since cancer, and cancer treatments, can impact negatively on the immune system, it wasn't known how vaccination would affect immune responses in cancer patients. To try and determine whether vaccinated cancer patients are at increased risk of developing serious COVID-19-related illness, compared to people without cancer, it was important to test antibodies produced by the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. The study was extremely popular with patients who were keen to know whether vaccine-induced immunity towards COVID-19 was adversely affected by their cancer diagnosis and their cancer treatment.

Prof. Awen Gallimore and her team of researchers at Cardiff University School of Medicine, with funding from several vital sources, gathered to collect and process the samples; with tests developed by a local biotech company, Immunoserv being used to measure responses. Further collaboration between Wales Cancer Biobank clinical teams, consultants, nurses and laboratory staff ensured that patients were fully informed, consented, vaccinated and blood samples taken at a number of defined time points during weekend clinics at Velindre Cancer Centre. 

Results of the study revealed a delay in the generation of COVID immunity in cancer patients. However, for most patients, a second dose was enough to boost immune responses. Responses also declined at a faster rate in cancer patients indicating the importance of measuring immunity in order to identify patients in greater need of further vaccination.

The study is ongoing and all the data is being used to understand the impact of vaccinations on cancer and cancer treatments. We hope these findings will aid the design of future vaccination strategies.

If you'd like to view the full published study please click here.

WCB Director elected to prestigious role in worldwide biobanking

Introducing ISBER President Elect -

Dr Alison Parry-Jones

We are extremely proud to announce that our very own Operations Director, Dr Alison Parry-Jones has recently been voted as the incoming President Elect of the International Society of Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER).

Alison has been the Director at large for Europe, the Middle East and Africa for the last couple of years and will take up her new role at the ISBER annual conference in Atlanta, USA in May this year.

ISBER is a global biobanking organization that creates opportunities for networking, education, and innovation. ISBER provides a community for harmonizing approaches to emerging challenges in repositories, as well as fostering ideas to create new solutions.

Key elements of ISBER’s activities include: creating educational and training opportunities; providing a forum for the dissemination of state-of-the-art policies, processes, and research findings; and showcasing innovative technologies, products, and services.


ISBER is excited to announce the return of the in-person international biobanking conference that is ISBER’s Annual Meeting from May 17-20, 2022. Join us in Atlanta, USA, home to innovative biotechnological institutions, organizations and businesses that promote collaboration, diversity and strengthen coordination to meet both local community and global unmet needs.

Click the image below to visit the ISBER website and register for the event