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Ethical Tissue

Ethical Tissue provides a wide range of human tissue, cells and fluid samples for biomedical research groups in academia, industry, and the health service.

We are one of a few tissue banks who can provide tissues from a wide range of disease together with normal comparators. In addition, our streamlined approval process means that you can receive ethical approval for your sample requests within 4 weeks, without the need to obtain National Research Ethics Services (NRES) approval.

We were voted UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC) Biobank of the Year in 2016/2017.

Find out more about us.

Requesting tissue

We provide a wide variety of tissues from ethically approved sources including healthy volunteers, recently deceased, and surplus therapeutic intervention. 

Tissue data is collected, stored and supplied by us.  All samples are anonymously coded and personal data is protected. A minimal dataset is supplied with all tissue samples which may include age, gender, ethnicity and medical history.

A formal application process exists when requesting tissue to ensure that there are thorough records of its use and that any restrictions placed on its use are complied with.

Find out more about requesting tissue.

Tissues can be accessed in a number of formats:

  • Fresh tissue
  • Snap frozen tissue
  • FFPE pathology blocks
  • OCT embedded tissue and microscopy sections
  • Isolated primary cells
  • Subcellular fractions
  • Protein extracts

Donating tissue

We collect many different types of tissue and body fluids for use in biomedical research from hospital patients, healthy volunteers, volunteers with certain conditions, and the recently deceased.

Scientists need these human tissues, cells and body fluids for research into how a disease starts as well as finding different ways of diagnosing and treating it. The purpose of Ethical Tissue is to help biomedical researchers to prevent, diagnose and treat a wide range of illnesses.

Information about donors remains strictly confidential. We do not pass on personal data to researchers.  After you have donated you also have the right to withdraw any unused donations you have made.

We would like to thank all those involved in donating samples for biomedical research.

Find out more about donating tissue.

Ethical Tissue laboratory

The bio-repository of Ethical Tissue is located in a Class 2 facility (positive air pressure) with electronic locking and key card entry allowing access only to specific employees of the University.  All staff work within a licensed environment and appropriate health and safety controls are in place. These support the processing, storage and traceability of samples. All freezers have emergency backup procedures.

Ethical Tissue's Standard operating Procedures (SOPs) cover all validated processes and equipment which have assigned monitoring, cleaning and maintenance schedules.

The agreed collection protocols for each tissue cover their acquisition and transportation to the laboratory in order to preserve the integrity of the tissue samples. Pre-processing of samples can be arranged immediately after collection with temporary storage in Ethical Tissue before transfer to the researcher.

All samples are logged onto a central database in order to ensure traceability of all samples using the unique code assigned to each donation.

Personal donor information is never issued and is kept under strict security and confidentiality.

All samples are appropriately stored according to the relevant SOPs using fully maintained and monitored equipment.

Standard processing can include, where appropriate, snap freezing of tissue in liquid nitrogen, formalin fixed paraffin embedding (FFPE), urine preparation, blood sample preparation (whole, plasma, serum, and leukocytes (buffy coat)), and blood analysis. Pathology blocks associated with a fresh tissue donation can be requested.

The -800C freezers have defined sub-compartments to aid traceability of stored tissues. There is a robust system of backup in the event of failure in the storage area and contingency plans in place.  

Viable primary cells are stored in liquid nitrogen Dewars in defined locations.   

Apart from our storage facilities we have a range of other capabilities:

  • Cell culture
  • Histology
  • Protein biochemistry
  • Ultracentrifugation

Ethical Tissue fundraising

Should you wish to make a financial donation to support the development of Ethical Tissue or its research projects please contact us.

Thank you for your generous support.

photo of Thank you card being written