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Welcome to the Health Sciences Tissue Bank  
The Health Sciences Tissue Bank (HSTB) is funded and operated through a partnership between the Department of Pathology within the School of Medicine, the Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI).

The Health Sciences Tissue Bank (HSTB) provides central support for University of Pittsburgh research programs needing tissue materials for research from patients seen at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). The main objectives of HSTB are: (1) to provide a mechanism to simplify and streamline the process of research tissue accrual and disbursement, and (2) to provide efficient research pathology support services.

The tissue accrual and disbursement function of the HSTB has been in existence since 1991, when the service focused on genitourinary cancers. The resource has substantially expanded and now procures and disburses tissue materials, as well as other biological specimens from patients with diverse pathology. The HSTB provides support to major research projects such as the Lung Specialized Program Of Research Excellence (SPORE), Early Disease Research Network (EDRN), the National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank (MVB), the Lung Tissue Research Consortium (LTRC), the Gynecological Cancer Center and the Cancer Genome Atlas Project (TCGA) research efforts, and is available to work with your program to strengthen your research initiatives.

The HSTB has banked a variety of solid tissues, cell aspirates, blood, PBMCs and other biological materials. Solid tissues are available from cancer and other various non-neoplastic diseased states of the GI tract, liver and lung, as well as the true normal tissues that are procured for approved projects through our working relationship with the Center for Organ Recovery and Education (CORE). We routinely develop procurement strategies for emerging tissue and disease state projects. This includes working directly with an investigator to interface with clinics, surgical programs and our Rapid Autopsy Program among others. We have IRB approval for a variety of collections. Moreover; we have the ability through a specific Tissue Bank IRB to collect excess tissues or tissues that would have otherwise been discarded. We can provide service through the HSTB IRB or assist you with your own submission.

The process of tissue procurement and disbursement, both prospective and retrospective, is possible only after appropriate IRB approvals have been obtained for the research projects. Much of the usage of tissue materials is driven by specific IRB-approved protocols for particular prospective research studies on cancer patients. Continuous ongoing tissue procurement allows aggregation of protocol-driven collections, as well serving as an essential mechanism to collect fresh tissue materials needed for specific studies. The HSTB is responsible for collecting, handling, and pre-processing tissues (such as separating blood into components) and banks excess tissue and biological specimen aliquots not immediately used for research in its freezers. Over time, this has resulted in an extensive retrospective repository, stocked with highly annotated specimens. This retrospective repository can be accessed for samples needed for studies of rare disease types or for studies that need longitudinal follow-up.

Specimen distribution is based on a defined priority order of usage for investigators involved in a particular research field. The organ-specific Tissue Utilization Committees (TUC) discuss and develop future research directions for the program, and assess policies and procedures for the availability of tissue and biological materials for promising research projects. Each of these committees makes recommendations to the personnel of the HSTB for the priorities in distribution of tissues.

The HSTB has implemented a unique inventory system called the Biospecimen Inventory and Operational System (BIOS). This web based system was activated in 2010 and is currently in use throughout the HSTB at the 4 flagship hospitals (Presbyterian, Shadyside, Magee and Passavant) and will allow for facile integration of demographic and medical records information with the tissue resources.

As part of the ctsi, the HSTB offers a full range of services designed to complement other ctsi resources in order to ensure that clinical and translational research is facilitated.

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact us.


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