Joint Research Management Office

Performing research menu

What is the HTRC

The Human Tissue Resource Centre (HTRC) is based at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, which oversees the collection, storage and use of tissue which has been donated for medical research.

The aims are to help existing local tissue banks comply with the Human Tissue Act 2004 and to enhance the research infrastructure of the Trust and QMUL.

Aims and objectives

The HTRC works with those who are storing human tissue for research purposes.

Its aims are to:

  • meet HTA licensing requirements;
  • ensure that the clinical governance guidelines and the codes of practice set out by the HTA are followed;
  • monitor and audit satellite sites;
  • collate statistical data and trends;
  • ensure that policies and procedures for tissue banking within the Trust and Medical School are standardised; and,
  • adopt best practice for active and prospective human tissue storage.

How the HTRC can help researchers

The HTRC is a shared facility for Barts Health and QMUL providing advice on the 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.

The HTRC oversees the collection, storage and distribution of tissue for research from over 20 registered tissue collection centres.

All tissues for storage and distribution for future research are logged, tracked and monitored, so the HTRC can identify potential research samples and harvest surplus human tissue for research, passing it onto research groups within the local community and to external organisations.

Requests for tissue for research may be referred on to the appropriate tissue collection centre that collects such samples.

Tissue procurement

The HTRC obtains surplus tissues for research that are rejected for medical purposes. The available team for this task include a Biomedical Scientist who works with surgeons, 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.

Note: The Trust will be obtaining generic consent for patients admitted for operations and treatments. Consent information will be kept by the HTRC and flagged on the centralised database.


The HTRC processes and preserves tissues retrieved from surplus diagnostic materials in this Trust’s Histopathology Department. Our technical staff may also provide other services such as section cutting and staining.

Tissue Banking

The HTRC collects surplus human tissue when available. There are a number of tissue collection centres within the Trust and QMUL, and together we 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. See Access to a research tissue bank.

Data Collection

The HTRC can provide relevant anonymised patient information with the tissue sample such as medical history, the age of a patient, diagnosis.

To request tissue from a research tissue bank

The HTRC offers researchers within the Trust, QMUL and our affiliates, a resource to enhance research into disease processes and treatments. Trust and QMUL researchers have top priority for accessing the services.

However, 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 the Trust and QMUL must be submitted in writing from the research lead for each research study. Researchers must complete an application request for human tissue form and must understand and agree to the conditions stated in the Human Tissue Supply Agreement. 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. Tissues will only be released to research studies with ethics approval.

More information

For more information, and to obtain a copy of the application request forms, contact the HTRC on 020 3465 5376 (internal: 15-55376) or by email to 

View the HTRC organisational structure [PDF 15KB]

Contact the HTRC: Tel: 020 3465 7306

Human Tissue Resource Centre
St Bartholomew’s Hospital
Pathology Dept
2nd Floor
West Smithfield Library Building
London, EC1A 7BE

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