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Alternatives to Laboratory Animals - ATLA

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The Establishment of the UK Human Tissue Bank

Samantha Orr and Jacki Trafford

The UK Human Tissue Bank (UKHTB) was established in 1998, to provide biomedical researchers with an effective, transparent and ethical supply of human tissues. The UKHTB collects and processes non-transplantable human tissue from cadaveric brain stem dead donors and surgical tissues surplus to diagnostic requirements, and distributes to researchers working in UK universities, medical institutions and the pharmaceutical industry. The UKHTB has gained approval from UK National Health Service Ethical Committees for the receipt of human tissues and transfers donated tissues to researchers with allied approval, who additionally agree to the scrutiny of the end-use of tissue by the UKHTB. All donations are made with the informed consent of the donor family or patient. In this way, all donations are traced from source to end-use. The UKHTB operates under a not-for-profit policy and employs a method of cost recovery to recoup processing, staff and transport costs; the tissue itself is not subject to a charge. We are confident that improved access to human tissue models results in more relevant results being ultimately available for clinical practice.