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UCL Human Tissue Biobanks

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UCL Institute of Child Health

HTA Licence: 12220

DI: Professor Andrew Copp
Email: a.copp@ucl.ac.uk
Tel: 020 7905 2355



MRC CNMD Biobank London

Updated June 2021

The MRC Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases (MRC CNMD) Biobank London is based at the UCL Institute of Neurology and the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health. The Biobank takes full advantage of the largest UK patient populations with neuromuscular diseases cared for at the co-located hospitals: Great Ormond Street NHS Trust and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, UCLH Foundation Trust.

The Biobank comprises of samples from patients with confirmed or suspected neuromuscular disorders and a limited number of controls. The samples are vital to allow researchers to better understand diseases and develop new diagnostic tests and drugs. The Biobank stores myoblasts, fibroblasts, plasma, serum, urine, DNA, muscle tissue and other miscellaneous samples. These samples have been collected from patients or healthy volunteers who have given appropriate consent for research and from existing pathology archives.

Samples are accessible for researchers based in the UK and internationally. Applicants should be employees of a recognised academic institution, hospital or commercial research organization and must hold their own ethical approval to access samples from the Biobank.

Researchers who wish to prospectively collect and bank a large volume of samples as part of their project should discuss this in advance with the biobank coordinator since additional resources are required to process and bank large volume requests, which must be costed for upfront in the grant application.

Additional information can be found on the MRC CNMD Biobank London website. 

The Biobank Coordinator is Mr Pierpaolo Ala: p.ala@ucl.ac.uk


The Cardiac Archive

Updated June 2021

The Cardiac Archive is based at the Zayed Centre for Research and is held under a satellite of the main ICH HTA research licence.

The aim of the Cardiac Archive is to be a resource and repository for the study of the structural architecture of the human heart, how this changes during development, in congenital malformations and in acquired cardiovascular disease.

The Archive is actively open and consists of existing holdings of heart and lung specimens (pre-HTA Act - Sept 2006) together with new donated samples (Sept 2006 onwards)

Access to the archive for observational study and training is via the PD and is restricted to health professionals and students on designated courses or those conducting approved observational research studies. Other research studies can be requested for consideration by the research committee by contacting the PD.

The Cardiac Archive is governed by the ICH HTA committee which reports to the UCL Human Tissue Authority Licence Designated Individual and Persons Designated Group.

The Archive is managed by UCL Institute of Cardiovascular Science and research studies assessed by the Cardiac Academic Group of ICS Children’s Cardiovascular Research Department / GOSH

PD: Andrew Cook: a.cook@ucl.ac.uk


The Baby Biobank

Updated June 2021

The Baby Biobank is based at the St Marys Hospital and the Institute of Child Health / UCL.The remit of the Baby Biobank is to facilitate research into pregnancy complications. The Biobank resources are available to commercial and non commercial research organisations internationally.

The Biobank comprises of over 54,000 biological samples and associated clinical data collected from 2515 pregnancies. Biological samples include, blood, serum, and plasma from both parents, urine from the mother and placental and umbilical cord tissues and blood from the proband. Each set of samples is accompanied by upto 300 fields of data.

The Baby Biobank Research Management Board reviews requests for use of samples/data. Approved studies must have local Research and Development approval and provide evidence of peer reviewed funding. Data generated from the samples is fed back into the biobank database. The Baby Biobank was set up from funding from Wellbeing of Women and is now solely supported by income generated by the supply of samples for research.

View information about the Baby biobank and an application form to access the resource.

PD: Nita Solanky: nita.solanky@ucl.ac.uk


The Human Developmental Biology Resource (HDBR)

Updated June 2021

The MRC-Wellcome Human Developmental Biology Resource (HDBR) is organised from two sites: UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health and the Institute of Genetic Medicine, Newcastle University. The HDBR is an ongoing collection of human embryonic and fetal material ranging from 3 to 21 weeks of development. Fresh, frozen and fixed tissue samples, slides and RNA/DNA are available to the international scientific community. Material can either be sent to registered users for use in their own labs, or our In House Gene Expression Service (IHGES) can carry out projects on users’ behalf, providing high quality images and interpretation of gene expression patterns. Gene expression data emerging from HDBR material is added to our gene expression database: HDBR Atlas. 

View information about the HDBR and an application form to access the resource.

PD: Nita Solanky: nita.solanky@ucl.ac.uk


The Living Airway Biobank

Updated June 2021

Respiratory infections and diseases are responsible for 1 in 4 deaths in the UK. Improving the care and treatment of these patients requires more research, but studying the early development of disease and identifying new drugs requires access to good quality human airway material.

Our Living Airway acts as a depository for respiratory tissue, blood and secretions from adult and paediatric healthy volunteers and patients with a range of respiratory conditions, including cystic fibrosis, COPD, asthma, rare lung diseases and viral infections.

It is run by UCL but we have established procedures and local approval to collect material from eight UK hospitals. The samples we collect are then distributed to researchers, internal or external to UCL, with samples relevant to the type of research they are conducting. This could include biomedical fields ranging from airway tissue regeneration, inflammation, viral and bacterial infection and gene therapy, for example.

In our first three years of operation, we have collected almost 200 different samples from donors (each obtained with patient or family’s informed consent to donate). Samples are either specifically collected for the Biobank or comprise of tissue or secretions surplus to other requirements (again, once consent is obtained). Available samples including flash-frozen lung or nasal biopsies, frozen airway secretions or lavage, living cells cultured from airway biopsy. The latter cultured cells provide an excellent pre-clinical model for evaluating airway disease and testing novel therapeutics. The team at UCL ICH has more than 10 years’ experience using this model and regularly interacts with academic and industrial partners across scientific disciplines to accelerate the translation of laboratory research to improve patient care.

A Biobank Access Committee assesses the scientific remit of Biobank sample access applications and ensures that the Biobank is managed in an ethical, fair and accountable manner. The Biobank Co-ordinator is Dr Claire Smith, Lecturer in Respiratory Child Health at UCL ICH.

PD: Claire Smith c.m.smith@ucl.ac.uk