Researchers wishing to request tissue are required to register.
Registration allows us to track user requests that document our productivity. We will not share your information for any other purpose and we will not share your information with any for-profit entities.
Registration requires submission of personal and/or organizational credentials. Registrants with suitable scientific credentials will be allowed access to a database of available tissue linked to relevant clinical information, and will allow tissue requests to be initiated. We will reply to you by email within 10 working days.
Our Tissue Inventory
We have fresh-frozen and formalin-fixed inventory from all major bodily organs, with a median PMI of 3 hours. Our median age is 83 years with very few cases under 70. Our brain inventory is much larger than the body as we have been brain-banking for about 20 years whereas whole-body donation started in 2005. We have more than 1400 brains from normal, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, cerebrovascular disease and multiple less common neurodegenerative diseases. Our body inventory is mostly normal organs from more than 300 cases, with atherosclerosis, renal hypertensive disease, fatty liver and diabetes type II as common diseases. We have more than 50 cancer cases, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, cancer of the prostate, lung, pancreas, biliary tract, adrenal gland, colon, kidney and bladder; 17 of these had metastatic sites as well. All cases have medical history data available, derived from private medical history review. Also, a large subset of cases have had blood pressure, height, weight and standardized neurological and neuropsychological assessments done at our center. Our bodily organ tissue has also been very valuable as control tissue for studies of cancer and other diseases.
Once you are approved as a tissue requestor, you may download our provided Excel files to search our current tissue inventory, see selected data and make a tissue request. The diagrams below provide a quick summary of the most useful current brain and body tissue inventory as well as medical history information. All of these subjects had full neuropathological examinations. Full sets of neuropathological data are available on all but fully detailed standardized clinical data is available only on a subset. More than 700 cases had at least one Mini Mental State Examination score done, at a median of 14 months before death, and more than 500 cases had at least one Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale score, at a median of 11 months before death. Both frozen and fixed brain and body tissue as well as postmortem blood serum and cerebrospinal fluid is available on the great majority of cases shown in the diagrams. Tissue from small critical regions such as substantia nigra, hippocampus, striatum, parathyroid gland, etc has been fully depleted from some cases but generally, for all the organs and tissue sites we have adequate sample sizes for most studies.
Cost Recovery or User Charges
We are not fully supported by grants and our institution mandates that the Brain and Body Donation Program must be self-supporting. For this reason, we charge user fees which partially recover our costs in initially procuring the tissue, pathologically characterizing the tissue, storing the tissue, databasing the tissue, consulting on research design with the user, searching our inventory, dissecting the tissue and having a Materials Transfer Agreement approved through our administrative and legal departments.
For research projects in fields for which we receive federal support, including research into Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Lewy body diseases, this subsidization allows us to supply for no charge, to not-for-profit research organizations, enough tissue for a pilot study. This would consist of up to 24 samples of frozen cerebral cortex or other large organ such as liver, kidney and lung. Small organs or areas, such as hippocampus, entorhinal cortex, amgydala, substantia nigra, putamen and parathyroid gland are not available for these pilot studies.
For subsequent or larger studies, a cost-recovery charge would have to be negotiated. We suggest that for ongoing and extensive studies that you give us a budget line in your next grant application.
For all tissue transactions, you would have to sign a Materials Transfer Agreement (MTA) drafted by our legal team and pay for the cost of tissue shipment. Requested changes to the MTA may result in the assessment of additional fees for the added expenses of additional legal review. Tissue will generally be shipped within two weeks after the MTA has been signed by all parties and after payment has been received. Occasionally shipment may be delayed longer if there are large numbers of tissue requests to be processed.
Legend for Diagrams
AD = Alzheimer’s disease; PD = Parkinson’s disease; PSP = progressive supranuclear palsy; HS = hippocampal sclerosis; VaD = vascular dementia; DLB = dementia with Lewy bodies; MSA = multiple system atrophy; MND = motor neuron disease; FTLD = frontotemporal lobar dementia; CBD = corticobasal degeneration