CHTN Provides Custom Procurement of Fresh, Frozen or Fixed Human Tissues for Research

Submitted by melkonya on Wed, 03/08/2017 - 12:27
Leona W. Ayers

Researchers have long considered the NCI supported Cooperative Human Tissue Network (CHTN) as a source for quality collection and preservation of tissue samples from remnant surgical tissue specimens. In an organized tissue procurement setting serving a large population of researchers, the trained procurement personnel, specialized reagents and monitored frozen storage facilities assure the availability of quality research, monitored preservation techniques and temperature controlled shipping required for successful research support.

The CHTN Midwestern Division (MWD) has experienced an increase in investigator demand for fresh tissues over the past two years. Approximately 23% of the tissues distributed by the CHTN MWD is fresh tissue. Requests for frozen and formalin-fixed paraffin embedded tissues, however, remain constant and stable. The increased interest in fresh tissue likely reflects an increased focus on the study of vital cells in controlled environments for pharmaceutical development and testing and/or basic discovery investigations.

It has been found cumulative damage can occur to frozen tissue over time (1) and the survival of cell functions following cold ischemia is better than initially thought (2). However, animal model studies and a limited set of human tissue studies in clinical settings demonstrate the use of special tissue protecting agents such as cryoprotectant DMSO, can prohibit at he cell damage in frozen tissues (7). The publication titled The Four-Dimensional Printing Hierarchy Scaffolds with Highly Biocompatible Smart Polymers for Tissue Engineering Applications (4) suggests an evolving artificial environment could house stem or progenitor cells to study environments required for establishment and protected proliferation of vital cells. Human malignant tissue xenographs established in immune deficient mice for the study of pharmaceuticals, the isolation of stem and progenitor cells for reparative and regenerative medicine and even the malignant cells for these expanding research fields appear plausible (3). Therefore, looking to the future, many areas of vital cell studies could benefit from the use of post-surgical remnant fresh and custom frozen tissues. Vital cells in de-vitalized tissues can provide the critical study materials if time is well managed.

With the use of skilled procurement technicians and stabilization techniques, the CHTN divisions can often procure fresh surgical tissue within 30 minutes of initiation of cold ischemia. The CHTN can also customize specimen procurement with the addition of a cryoprotectant agent (DMSO) prior to freezing. If you as an innovative investigator are interested in custom collection of fresh post-surgical remnant human tissues for IRB reviewed and funded research, please direct your thoughts, ideas and interests to the CHTN. You can request consultation in your area of interest.


  1. Auer H1, Mobley JA, Ayers LW, Bowen J, Chuaqui RF, Johnson LA, Livolsi VA, Lubensky IA, McGarvey D, Monovich LC, Moskaluk CA, Rumpel CA, Sexton KC, Washington MK, Wiles KR, Grizzle WE, Ramirez NC. The effects of frozen tissue storage conditions on the integrity of RNA and protein. Biotech Histochem. 2014 Oct;89(7):518-28. doi: 10.3109/10520295.2014.904927. Epub 2014 May 6.
  2. Grizzle WE, Otali D, Sexton KC, Atherton DS. Effects of Cold Ischemia on Gene Expression: A Review and Commentary. Biopreserv Biobank. 2016 Dec;14(6):548-558. Review. PMID: 27551929.
  3. McQualter JL, Anthony D, Bozinovski S, Prêle CM, Laurent GJ. Harnessing the potential of lung stem cells for regenerative medicine. Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2014 Nov;56:82-91. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2014.10.012. Review. PMID: 25450456.
  4. Miao S, Zhu W, Castro NJ, Leng J, Zhang LG. Four-Dimensional Printing Hierarchy Scaffolds with Highly Biocompatible Smart Polymers for Tissue Engineering Applications. Tissue Eng Part C Methods. 2016 Oct;22(10):952-963. doi: 10.1089/ten.tec.2015.0542. PMID: 28195832.
  5. Palmero E, Palmero S, Murrell W. Brain tissue banking for stem cells for our future. Sci Rep. 2016 Dec 19;6:39394. doi: 10.1038/srep39394. PMID: 27991551.
  6. Weiss TS, Dayoub R. Thy-1 (CD90)-Positive Hepatic Progenitor Cells, Hepatoctyes, and Non-parenchymal Liver Cells Isolated from Human Livers. Methods Mol Biol. 2017;1506:75-89. PMID: 27830546.
  7. Zheng Y, Zhao G, Panhwar F, He X. Vitreous Cryopreservation of Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells with Low Concentration of Cryoprotective Agents for Vascular Tissue Engineering. Tissue Eng Part C Methods. 2016 Oct;22(10):964-973. doi: 1089/ten.TEC.2016.0335. PMID: 27673413.
Leona W. Ayers, MD, Academy Professor, Department of Pathology, College of Medicine and Physician Scholar Wexner Medical