The Maine Medical Center Research Institute (MMCRI) BioBank is available for researchers to obtain tissue and tissue-related services by the formal submission and approval of an application request. Banking tissue involves the allocation of small pieces of the specimen, both abnormal and normal, if attainable, and the creation of a number of vials containing a weighed quantity of tissue to be snap frozen. Portions of the sample contiguous with each frozen section are then placed in cassettes to be embedded in paraffin. We also provide a range of other tissue preservation methods. Below are some descriptions to better define each banking method.
For Human Research Guidance and Forms contact the Institutional Review Board (IRB)
For more information please contact the BioBank at BioBankrequests@mmc.org
A section of tissue is snap frozen in vapor-phase liquid nitrogen at -190ºC then stored at -80ºC until our standard operating procedures allow the BioBank to release the specimen to the researcher (30 days after the pathologist has signed the report). The weight of this tissue can vary anywhere from <100 mg to 2000+ mg, usually falling between the two extremes. If a precise quantity of tissue is desired in this format, specifications such as a desired minimum or maximum will be considered.
A section of tissue is placed in a cassette and fixed in formalin to create a paraffin block. The origin of this tissue is directly adjacent to that of the frozen section taken from the same specimen, therefore the frozen and paraffin sections are matched samples. An H&E stained slide is produced from each block for quality assurance and to confirm the diagnosis. These slides can later be photographed and provided for review should researchers desire to participate in the specimen selection process prior to shipment.
It is also possible to access archived paraffin sections. Requests for retrieval of archived tissue are processed by the BioBank Manager and must be approved by the IRB.
TMA (Tissue for Microarray)
Much like a paraffin section, we can provide a larger, thicker piece of tissue from which a TMA can be prepared. Again, the tissue is formalin-fixed and embedded in a paraffin block and is accompanied by a representative microslide evidencing histology. http://tissuearray.org/yale/tisarray.html
OCT (Optimum Cutting Temperature compound)
Tissue is placed in a small mold and embedded in OCT matrix. Once hardened, this cube is removed and placed in an air-tight cartridge to prevent dehydration of the tissue during storage. OCTs can also be cut to match paraffin and frozen sections.
Within the past year, MMCRI BioBank has started providing freshly procured tissue specimens to a number of companies. At this stage we are only banking fresh tissue in transport media (RPMI with an antibiotic) provided by the researchers. This is the only banking event for which the 30-day mandated holding period on tissue samples is lifted, with the approval of the supervising pathologist. Typically this type of tissue is provided for studies requiring viable cells. Further refinement of the banking process can be performed on request.
Although we routinely procure whole blood samples for shipment, we have only recently begun centrifuging selected samples to begin building our own inventory of serum samples.
We are presently working on establishing a protocol for preparing cytological specimens (smears, aspirates, touch preps) for investigators. These may be either H&E stained or unstained, depending on specifications.
In addition to the tissue samples, investigators are also provided with the de-identified clinicopathological information extracted from the pathology report.
Please contact us so we may discuss how to better meet your research needs.