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Joint Research Management Office

Role of the HTRC


The HTRC is a shared facility for Barts Health and Queen Mary, providing advice on tissue collections within various specialities, and for the procurement, processing, storage and distribution of tissue for research. The HTRC will assist any Tissue Collection Centre (TCC) by reviewing existing practices and developing materials on patient consent and protocols for collecting, and by training consent staff. Requests for tissue for research may be referred to the appropriate TCC that collects such samples.

Tissue procurement and Tissue banking

The HTRC collects surplus human tissue when available, for research, which is rejected for medical purposes. The HTRC team liaise with surgeons, ward and theatre staff, researchers, and pathologists to process surplus tissue and maximise its scientific value. The HTRC can assist researchers in sourcing tissues for a specific research project. If there is any type of tissue we should be collecting to support research in your area, please contact us.

There are several tissue collection centres within Barts Health and Queen Mary which together store and collect approximately 10,000 samples per year.

The HTRC has the facility to store surplus tissues from specific research projects which can be used in the future; a nominal fee is chargeable for this service. If not, they will assist in finding another research tissue bank that will do this.

If you wish to store tissue from a specific research project for future use and do not have access to a licensed research tissue bank, please contact the HTRC at least 12 weeks before your research project finishes.

Note: Barts Health NHS Trust will be obtaining generic consent for patients admitted for operations and treatments. Consent information will be kept by the HTRC.

To request tissue from a research tissue bank

The HTRC offers researchers within Barts Health, Queen Mary and our affiliates, a resource to enhance research into disease processes and treatments. All researchers (academic or commercial) can request tissue from the tissue bank for research projects with ethical approval. Tissues will be made available for a nominal fee, which partially offsets the costs of collection, handling, preparing and storing the samples. Informed consent from donors is obtained through the tissue bank thereby freeing researchers from this process.

Requests for human tissue from collections within Barts Health and Queen Mary must be submitted in writing from the research lead for each research study. The application is then reviewed to ensure that the project is one to which the HTRC should commit resources.

Samples will only be released for projects that have had approval from the tissue custodian and the Trust tissue committee and to research studies with ethics approval.

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