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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.

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

Who we supply

Access to human tissue and / or data is open to all biomedical researchers both in the UK and abroad including:

  • Academic institutions
  • Pharmaceutical industry
  • NHS
  • Contract research organisations
  • Biotechnology companies

Only individual applications that fall within the remit of Ethical Tissue HTA Research License and with full approval from the Independent Scientific Advisory Consultants (ISACs) will be considered for tissue release as outlined in the section Access to bio-samples.

Individual applicants are asked to provide a summary of the proposed research with a justification for the number and type of samples requested. The Principal Investigator (PI) is also asked to provide an up-to-date cv.

Find out more about our researchers projects.

An academic testing in the ICT laboratory

Access to biosamples


Researchers requiring access to bio-samples and / or data from us need to complete the 2-part application process.

Part 1

Contact us to let us know what tissue and / or service you require so we can assess availability, see if we can meet your needs, and give you an estimated delivery date.

Part 2

The Part 2 is a proforma full application that requires: 

  • The, qualifications, affiliations and CV of the principle investigator
  • An abstract of the project
  • Justification for the use of human tissue in this particular project and the amounts requested


The Part 2 application is then reviewed to ensure that all the information required by the Independent Scientific Advisory Consultants (ISACs) is present, who will in turn assess the scientific merit of the study and the scientific standing of the Principal Investigator (PI).

The ISACs operate independently of Ethical Tissue and are researchers and clinicians who are experts in their own field of biomedical research. The ISACs are required to declare any interest in the application. 

Using our approval process, which takes only around 4 weeks, means our researchers are not required to have individual project based ethical approval from NRES.

Ethical Tissue have Ethics Approval for a Research Tissue Bank until 2022. Find out more about us.  Researchers using samples provided by us are not required to work under a Human Tissue Authority (HTA) licence, providing a Material Transfer Agreement (Supply Agreement) has been signed. You will only need to have a HTA Licence in place if you want to source and supply healthy volunteer samples from the workforce for use on-site.  In this instance, we can facilitate the HTA Application process for you.

Tissue data

Data is collected, stored and supplied by us in accordance with:

All data provided with samples is coded and stored securely.  Standard clinical information is collected routinely.  Additional information can be collected upon request.