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
Early Disease Research Network
the National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank
(MVB), the Lung Tissue Research Consortium
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.
Whole Slide Imaging & Quantitative Analysis and Morphometry is avaiable now.
Come meet us and view our posters at the Science Fair and MWRI Retreat!