January 5, 2017

Information for Researchers

Human tissue samples are collected by various researchers and biobanks across the UK, yet, the ability for researchers to undertake research is still hampered by the inability to find suitable samples. We aim to change that. The UKCRC TDCC functions as a central hub, coordinating UK tissue banking activities. One key way of achieving this is via the UKCRC Tissue Directory.

The Directory of samples is the UK’s only register of sample collections in the UK that covers multiple diseases and allows the searching based on age, gender, disease classification, sample type and available datasets.

The UKCRC Tissue Directory

How does it work?

Individual Biobanks and Tissue custodians maintain control over their samples at all times. To find out more read our frequently asked questions. The site acts as a platform to match research needs with Biobank capability.

Biomedical researchers are free to search the directory at any point. You can search in a number of ways:

  • Search using Disease
    Search our Directory using your disease interest. A drop down will appear with relevant disease types.
  • List of Diseases
    If you are unable to find your disease via our directory you can browse our list of diseases. If you can’t find what you’re looking for please get in touch and let us know your disease interest.
  • List of Biobanks
    Looking for a specific Biobank? Then head over to our list of all the sample collections registered in the Directory.
  • Browse all samples
    look through a list of all registered collections and filter based on your requirements.
  • Browse all collections sites
    look through a list of all sites with the capacity to collect samples on request.

Once you have found your disease interest you can filter on other sample requirements such as material and preservation type using the filters on the left hand side. To contact the Biobanks click on the contact logo; the contact information will then be added to a list which appears on a blue button in the top right. You can then get in touch with the sample custodian.

How long until I receive a sample?

The Centre does not get involved with tissue requests. This can therefore vary from resource to resource. Each organisation will have a different system. Usually a material transfer agreement (MTA) will need to be in place, and this will require the work of legal staff in your institution.

Is there anything else I need to know about working with human tissue samples?

The Centre is committed to improving the use of human tissue – if you have any queries at all please don’t hesitate to get in touch. To begin with visit the resources below for up to date information on governance.

MRC Data and Tissues Tool Kit
NC3Rs Human tissue Hub
The University of Newcastle’s HTA course

Governance bodies

Human Tissue Authority
Human Research Authority

Guidance for governance and ethics

MRC ethics series -Human tissue and biological samples for use in research
MRC Guidance – Use of human samples in medical research

For more information on the centre you can watch explanatory videos on our youtube channel and please don’t hesitate to contact us with any queries.