Tissue Request

To initiate a tissue request, please register by filling out the required information pages. We will approve and/or reply to you by email within 10 days. Registration requires a short-version CV (e.g. NIH biosketch) of the requesting scientist and/or the principal investigator.

We need a one paragraph description of the proposed usage of the tissue, and the diagnoses, tissue types and formats (fixed, frozen), numbers of cases and samples needed as well as any special requirements, e.g. age, gender, specific pathology, etc. Generally this requires several back-and-forth email messages to work out.

To register, please visit our registration page.

Once registered and approved, you may download the provided files to search our database of clinical and pathological findings.

Our Tissue Inventory

We have fresh-frozen and formalin-fixed inventory from all major bodily organs, with a median PMI of three hours.

More about our tissue:  

  • 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 30 years whereas whole-body donation started 11 years ago.
  • We have more than 1,800 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 700 cases, with atherosclerosis, renal hypertensive disease, fatty liver and diabetes type II as common diseases.
  • We have more than 70 cancer cases, including melanoma, lymphoma and cancer of the breast, thyroid, prostate, lung, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, colon, biliary tract and kidney.

All cases have medical history data available, derived from annual volunteer research clinical visits to our center, including standardized general medical, neurological and neuropsychological assessments, as well as private medical records review. All tissue is examined by board-certified pathologists after death.

Cost Recovery and 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 recruiting and clinically examining the subjects annually, performing rapid autopsies, 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. The user fee or cost recovery fee is not for the tissue but for the many hours of skilled labor required to make the tissue useful.

However, we are dedicated to our mission of sharing our tissue with as many researchers as possible and so we generally will supply enough tissue, on a first request, for a pilot study, excluding tissue types that have a small inventory. 

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. Tissue will generally be shipped within two weeks after the MTA has been signed by all parties and after payment has been received.