Tissue Research Banks
The University of Pennsylvania Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center (ADCC), the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research (CNDR), and the Penn Udall Center for Parkinson's Research maintain tissue banks, funded by NIH (NIA, NINDS), for human brain samples obtained from patients with:
- Alzheimer’s disease (AD)
- Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and
- other related neurodegenerative dementias and movement disorders
The tissue bank is a resource for qualified scientists. However, these tissue banks are "Core Facilities” that are part of NIH funded multi-component projects with the specific charge or mission of supporting the research conducted by the project grant co-investigators. These project grant co-investigators therefore have priority for access to these samples in order to achieve the goals of their funded projects.
Thus, while the ADCC and CNDR make every effort to provide unused samples from these tissue banks to other investigators who are not part of these NIH grants, there are limitations on the types of cases acquired and banked in CNDR and the ADCC, as well as on which brain regions are available to investigators outside these NIH funded project grants. Accordingly, brain regions such as hippocampus, amygdale, brainstem, etc. -which are in high demand for use in the studies conducted by the project co-investigators in these NIH funded grants - are infrequently available to distribute to other outside investigators. Every effort is made by CNDR and ADCC staff to accommodate the needs of outside investigators where possible.
Since there are over 40 NIH supported brain banks in the USA (for further information, click here), there are many other sources of human brain samples for qualified researchers. Indeed, several of these NIH supported brain banks have been funded primarily for the purpose of obtaining and distributing brain samples tailored to the needs of all qualified investigators. As an example, please visit http://www.brainbank.mclean.org/. Notably, the National Disease Research Interchange (NDRI) is specifically designed to provide scientists with access to customized biomaterials for use in studies to understand human disease and to develop new drugs and therapies for these disorders.
Although all human tissue may harbor an infectious agent communicable to others and all tissues should be treated as such, no tissues with an infectious disease (HIV, hepatitis B, Creutzfeldt-Jakob etc.) are distributed, but it is impossible to guarantee that tissues are indeed free of infectious agents even though all cases have undergone detailed neuropathology examinations. All tissues sent to researchers are coded so researchers conduct their studies without knowledge of the exact diagnosis. Thus, it is imperative that investigators conducting research on human tissues use universal precautions and be fully trained to conduct research using human biological samples that may harbor potentially infectious conditions. Any waste material should be treated as a biohazard and disposed of according to your institutional policy.
If you have questions or need further assistance in completing the above form to request a biosample, please contact:
University of Pennsylvania Alzheimer's Disease Core Center
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
3600 Spruce Street
3rd Floor Maloney Building
Philadelphia, PA 19104-4283
Laboratory Phone: 215-662-3292
Office Phone: 215-662-4474
Office Fax: 215-349-5909
To obtain biosamples, investigators must have an active IRB approval for their studies involving human tissues. This IRB approval must accompany the request form below, which must be completed and signed by the requesting principal investigator.
Download the form: as a PDF or as a Word document
The form can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to 215-349-5909.
Recording Clinical Information on Brain Bank Patients