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Joint Research Management Office

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Human Tissue Resource Centre

The Human Tissue Resource Centre (HTRC) holds the licence for storage of human tissue for research that covers tissue banks operating within the Trust and QMUL

Over 25 Tissue Collection Centres (TCCs) are registered with the HTRC. These establishments are storing human organs, tissues and cells for research purposes other than for a specific ethically approved research project. 

The licence applies only to those groups which have registered with the HTRC as it is essential that the requirements of the Human Tissue Act (see below) are complied with.

In order to comply with The Human Tissue Act 2004, the following activities can only be carried out under licence from the Human Tissue Authority:

  • Anatomical examination
  • Post-mortem examination
  • Removal of material from deceased persons in certain circumstances
  • Storage of post-mortem material
  • Storage of anatomical specimens
  • Storage of material from a living person (eg for research)
  • Public display of a body or material from a deceased person

If your department is collecting or distributing surplus tissue for research and/or are storing tissue that is not connected to an ethically approved research project and you have not informed the HTRC, then you must do so immediately. To download a registration form, visit our tissue collection registration page.

Main points for research tissue banks

The HTRC has developed policies on the collection, storage and distribution of human tissue for research. To comply with the act, TCCs must have procedures in place to:

  • Obtain consent for the use and storage of tissue
  • Record where samples are stored
  • Record how and by whom tissue is disposed

The Act does not distinguish between blocks and slides and any other form of human tissue containing cells, so all forms of tissue need to be accounted for and tracked. 

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