Logo of the NYBB

New York Brain Bank at Columbia University

Alzheimer Disease Research Center
Taub Institute

FAQ

External Advisors


Requestor:

  1. What are the requirements to request tissue for research from NYBB?
  2. How expensive is the processing of a tissue request?
  3. Why do charges apply for histologic sections mounted on glass slides?
  4. How much do histologic services cost?
  5. What tissue is available for research?
  6. What are the diagnoses, which are assigned to the stored tissue samples?
  7. What are the diagnostic criteria which are applied?
  8. What types of samples are available for research?
  9. How are tissue samples stored?
  10. Do you ship overseas?
  11. How long does it take to fulfill a request?
  12. To whom do I direct specific questions?
  13. What information about the donor of tissue for research is available?
  14. How long does it take to get certified and eligible for receiving tissue from the NYBB?

Donor or providing physician:

  1. Where to obtain shipping supplies for sending a fresh brain to the NYBB?
  2. What documents should accompany the brain?
  3. Who should I contact to make arrangements for donation?

Question 1: What are the requirements to request tissue for research from NYBB?

Answer: NYBB disburses tissue samples to investigating clinicians or scientists, whose research has been approved by their Institutional Review Board (IRB). In addition to sending us a copy of the IRB approval for your study protocol, we request that you submit the signed agreements, which you can download here. After we have reviewed the documents, we will issue an electronic token (i.e. login and password), which will allow you to submit your request via the internet.

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Question 2: How expensive is the processing of a tissue request?

Answer: Tissue samples are free of charge, because they are a gift of the donor to scientific research; however, we are forced to charge 100 US Dollars per request for handling the specimens disbursed. However, we must charge you for the shipment of the tissue samples to your laboratory. We are unable to cover the costs in advance, you must provide us with your FedEx account number to bill the shipping costs to you directly.

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Question 3: Why do charges apply for histologic sections mounted on glass slides?

Answer: Tissue is made available to the scientific community free of charge. However, the NYBB neither sections nor stains tissue samples for investigations which require sections on histology glass slides. If you request samples which require processing by a histology laboratory, we will submit your request to an affiliated laboratory of Columbia University and ask you to cover the fees. For prices, which are subjected to change, refer to Question 4 below.

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Question 4: How much do histologic services cost?

Answer: Price list for histologic services:

Service Price
Gross room preparation of tissue per cassette $3.00
Machine processing and embedding only $7.50
H&E stain per slide $3.00
Cutting one section of blanks starting with a block $1.50
Cutting one section of immunoperoxidase blanks starting with a block $2.00
Re-embedding one paraffin block $3.00
Histochemical stain per slide (Trichrome EVG, PAS, etc.) $15.00
Slide box (25) $3.00
Slide box (100) $5.00
Hand processing and embedding per block $30.00
Silver stain per slide $30.00
Tissue section in PCR tube $9.00
Empty cassette (Each) $0.30
Cutting one section of frozen tissue (1st and 2nd section) $7.50
Cutting one section of frozen tissue (from 3rd section on) $3.00
Making one block for frozen section $7.50
Level sections, each level $3.00
Special service per hour $60.00
Making one tissue array block $450.00
Cutting one section of tissue array block $3.00

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Question 5: What tissue is available for research?

Answer: All diagnoses assigned to brains available for research are part of a drop-down list in the electronic request form. If the diagnosis you are interested in is not included in the list, it means that no tissue, representative of this diagnosis, is available. Providing concomitant diagnoses (e.g. tissue of brains with Alzheimer disease as a primary diagnosis and cerebral infarcts as a secondary diagnosis) may decrease the likelihood of finding samples which match your request. While brains of the desired diagnosis may be part of our inventory, specific regions may not be. We will give you notification as to how much of your request we are able to fulfill before sending you samples.
We take great care to match the variables of your requests with those of the available samples, as closely as possible. However, a perfect match may not be possible.

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Question 6: What are the diagnoses, which are assigned to the stored tissue samples?

Answer: The focus of the NYBB is on neurodegenerative disorders (e.g. Alzheimer disease, Huntington disease, Parkinson disease). Samples from brains with primary (e.g. astrocytoma) or secondary (e.g. metastases) tumors are not available. Please refer to the list of diagnoses assigned to brains available for research below:

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  • Alzheimer Changes
  • Alzheimer Disease
  • Alzheimer Disease Lewy Body Variant
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Control
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
  • Dandy-Walker-Syndrome
  • Dementia with Lewy Body, Limbic or Transitional
  • Dementia with Lewy Body, Neocortical
  • Dementia with Motor Neuron Disease
  • Diffuse Lewy Body Disease, Cortical
  • Diffuse Lewy Body Disease, Limbic
  • Frontal Lobe Dementia
  • Frontal Lobe Dementia with MND
  • Hippocampal Sclerosis
  • Huntington Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Multiple System Atrophies (MSA)
  • Neurosarcoidosis
  • Parkinson Disease
  • Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, Atypical
  • Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, Typical
  • Vascular Dementia

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Question 7: What are the diagnostic criteria which are applied?

Answer: Please visit our list of diagnoses to learn about the publications which serve as a foundation of our diagnostic criteria.

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Question 8: What types of samples are available for research?

Answer: These are the sample types, which usually are available:
Frozen tissue: may be available as:

  • blocks measuring about 2.5 x 1.5 x 0.5 cm,
  • aliquots (about 1.5 gm) of cortex or white matter, or
  • coronal slices.

Blocks are ideal for investigations requiring preservation of cellular morphology (see below). Aliquots are suitable for blots, or biochemistry or microassays. Although less optimal than blocks or aliquots, slices may serve for most investigations. Their availability is contingent upon the amount of samples harvested for obtaining blocks and aliquots.
Blocks fixed in formalin phosphate, embedded in paraffin: are ideal for general survey, and for many investigations including immunoperoxidase techniques. The standardized series of formalin fixed and paraffin embedded blocks of tissue closely matches the series of blocks frozen with liquid nitrogen vapor.
Blocks fixed in paraformaldehyde: are ideal for general survey, and for many investigations including immunoperoxidase techniques. Tissue fixed in paraformaldehyde is not customarily available. This fixation of tissue will be performed upon request only, and may be subject to charges.
Blocks fixed in periodate-lysine-paraformaldehyde: are ideal for immunoperoxidase investigations. Tissue fixed in periodate-lysine-paraformaldehyde is not customarily available. This fixation of tissue will be performed upon request only, and may be subject to charges.
Paraffin sections: Four to ten µm thick sections mounted on coated glass slides from 10% buffered formalin phosphate fixed and paraffin embedded blocks can be obtained. 10% buffered formalin phosphate fixed and paraffin embedded tissue blocks are not disbursed. Please note that we will pass on charges for cutting and staining as they apply.
Frozen sections: The thickness of the sections may be between four and forty µm.

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Question 9: How are tissue samples stored?

Answer: Frozen tissue is stored in freezers at -80 °C. Tissue which is neither frozen nor embedded in paraffin is stored in 10% buffered formalin at room temperature.

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Question 10: Do you ship overseas?

Answer: The same prerequisites apply to domestic and foreign institutions. The research project has to be approved by an ethics committee (equivalent of the Institutional Review Board) of the institution (see above). The recipient of the tissue samples will have to cover the shipping costs (see above).

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Question 11: How long does it take to fulfill a request?

Answer: The average time between the placement of the tissue request and the shipping is two weeks. This is an estimate and does not apply to requests which include samples which have to be collected prospectively or samples from brains with rare diagnoses.

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Question 12: To whom do I direct specific questions?

Answer: We will help to solve problems or provide answers to questions you might have with regards to brain banking. Your feedbacks will be welcomed, including any suggestions that could contribute to the improvement of our services. Please be sure that you have read the information on our web site, which covers many related topics. For further assistance please direct your questions or comments to:

NYBB / Taub Institute
Children's Hospital of New York-Presbyterian
3959 Broadway, Room T8
New York, NY 10032
Telephone: 1-212-305-2299
Fax: 1-212-342-0083
E-mail: nybb@columbia.edu

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Question 13: What information about the donor of tissue for research is available?

Answer: The NYBB has to insure that identifiable health information is protected in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Customarily we provide the following information for all samples:

  • T-number as a unique identifier of the donor
  • Age of the donor (89 and under)
  • Distributive diagnosis
  • Gender of the donor
  • Ethnicity of the donor
  • Post mortem interval

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Question 14: How long does it take to get certified and eligible for receiving tissue from the NYBB?

Answer: The activation of your account will occur shortly after we have received the requested documents and verified the data you provided. As soon as your electronic token is created, you will receive a notification via email. Your token will remain active until the budget period of your grant has ended.

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Question 15: Where to obtain shipping supplies for sending a fresh brain to the NYBB?

Answer: If the donation of a fresh brain is expected in the near future, please inform us. We will provide you with shipping materials. Should the donation of a fresh brain take place immediately please refer to how to ship the brain to the NYBB.

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Question 16: What documents should accompany the brain?

Answer: Please provide personal information pertaining to the donor and send us a record of the time intervals between the steps of obtaining the brain (e.g. day and time of death, time body in cold room, day and time of removal of the brain, etc). We encourage you to use our sample information sheet. Any clinical data available would be very helpful to us.

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Question 17: Who should I contact to make arrangements for donation?

Answer: To learn more about brain donation, please call Arlene Lawton, R.N. at (212) 305-9086 or Carol B. Moskowitz, R.N. at (212) 305-5779 or visit the site of the Taub Institute.

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Last updated 07/19/2008