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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.

Who can donate

Hospital Patients

We ask people who are coming into hospital or a clinic for treatment whether they would like to take part in ongoing biomedical research.

Healthy volunteers

Ethical Tissue collects samples, most commonly blood and urine, from other donor groups which may include healthy volunteers from the staff and student cohort of the University of Bradford.

Researchers need to have samples from Healthy Volunteers to compare with those who have a disease or disorder. The sort of samples that are requested will match the age range, gender mix and sometimes, ethnicity of the disease or disorder under study.

Volunteers with conditions

We sometimes receive requests from researchers for small samples of blood, urine or other body fluids from individuals who have a defined, managed disease or disorder. This type of volunteer may include:

  • Type 2 Diabetes sufferers
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) sufferers
  • Regular users of prescribed Statins

We also ask if people with terminal conditions would like to donate tissue after death.

Tissue donation after death

Tissue donation is something that can be considered by those people who want to find something positive in death or those who, for whatever reason, cannot be organ donors. Find out more about donating tissue after death.

How to donate

When you agree to donate, you will be given an information booklet and asked to sign a consent form.  Donor information booklets include information on:

  • Why biomedical researchers need human tissue
  • Why particular tissue is being requested
  • How requests are handled, including confidentiality
  • Why results of the research are not shared
  • Refusing consent without it affecting your treatment

All invitations to be involved in research are conducted during a confidential face-to-face interview with a Health Professional or an authorised and qualified employee of Ethical Tissue. This interview determines the appropriate consent type.

The consent form gives permission for tissue that was removed during a clinical procedure and not needed by the hospital to be used in biomedical research.  In all cases, what is requested will be explained fully to you and you will be given an information sheet and a copy of your consent form to keep.

Once you have agreed to donate, you are still free to withdraw at any time and you don't have to provide a reason.  Existing donors can also withdraw their support from ongoing biomedical research by contacting us. 

Academic putting samples in dry ice for ethical tissue
academic in ethical tissue laboratory

How we use your donation

Scientists need human tissue, cells and body fluids for research into how a disease starts as well as finding different ways of diagnosing and treating a disease or illness. The purpose of Ethical Tissue is to help them achieve this.

When donors agree to be involved, the samples we have permission to collect are transported to our tissue bank and either used immediately or stored for use at a later date. We may send some stored samples to other approved tissue banks or companies both in the UK and abroad to support their research work.

All tissue samples need some basic information about the donor and some specific information about the donation. Basic information about the donor could include: age, gender, ethnicity, smoking history, and alcohol use. Specific information about the donation could include: type of tissue requested, medical history of the donor, and the current medications the donor is taking. A researcher may need some or all of this information.

Donors can have complete confidence that their personal details are never released, all donations and information go out to the researcher using the unique code on their consent form and are completely anonymous.  Donors can also withdraw their support from ongoing biomedical research by writing to us in confidence. 

Ethical Tissue privacy notice