Scientists working on brain diseases are often disheartened by the tricky process of tracking down human tissue samples for their work. But now they can use a new database to speed up their searches, explains James Ironside, Director of the UK Brain Banks Network.
Frustrating to find, time-consuming to request, and trapped behind endless paperwork; these are just some of the reasons neuroscientists give for not using human tissue samples in their research.
Over the past few years I’ve been trying to address these problems in my role as Director of the UK Brain Banks Network, a group of brain banks that the MRC established across the UK in 2009, which are funded by the MRC, the NHS and five charities: the MS Society, Parkinson’s UK, the Alzheimer’s Society, Alzheimer’s Research UK and Autistica.
The 10 banks collect, store and provide human brain tissue samples from more than 7,000 brains for research. Although scientists can model many aspects of diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis or motor neuron disease in the lab, they need samples of human brain tissue to validate their work, and understand the full complexity of these disorders. Read more