Tissue Bank & Research Lab

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Tissue Bank and Research Laboratory Tissue-based research is increasingly contributing to the understanding of human disease, especially in genomics and proteomics based research. Tissue Banks make it possible to use human tissue in research. The West Virginia University Tissue Bank collects a wide variety of normal and diseased tissue from surgical resections and autopsies with Institutional Review Board approval and patient consent. Specimens are given to researchers without any patient identifying information. However, researchers may need to know basic demographic information which is collected and then deidentified (i.e.identifying information is removed) at the time of tissue banking. Approval from the Institutional Review Board and the Tissue Bank Board of Directors are required for all projects utilizing these tissues.

Skilled technologists work with surgeons, pathologists, and researchers to maximize the scientific value and quality of acquired tissue. They oversee designation of tissue so investigators can correlate pathologic features with their data while maintaining patient confidentiality. Tissues are obtained fresh, frozen in liquid nitrogen, embedded in the cryopreservative O.C.T., and/or fixed in formalin and paraffin embedded. Histology services are also available. The WVU Tissue Bank operates with a research facility to provide slides, stains or other technical assistance to the research community.

The Tissue Bank database is a secure system with limited access. A deidentified Tissue Bank report is produced for each tissue sample. The following information is available on this report:

  • Clinical and Tissue Data: mass, mode of preservation, time of acquisition, time of collection (etc).
  • Patient information: Gender, age, and other non-identifiers
  • Cancer diagnosis and treatment information
  • Information on other major diseases
  • Social and Family history information if available
  • Diagnostic procedures/Tests
  • Radiology reports
  • Pathology reports

It may be possible to obtain other patient data. Researchers should make requests during the application process.

West Virginia University faculty who have NIH funding have top priority for obtaining our services. However, all West Virginia University researchers, as well as those collaborating from outside institutions, can request tissue from the Tissue Bank for valid research purposes. Tissue obtained from the Tissue Bank may not be distributed to third parties. The Tissue Bank technologists will work with each investigator to maximize the value of the tissue for a particular scientific study. There are minimal costs for Tissue Bank Services and project approval is subject to review by the Tissue Bank Board of Directors.

We ask that investigators acknowledge the contributions made by the Tissue Bank in all publications resulting from the use of these tissues. Recommended wording be as follows: "Tissue for this project was provided by the West Virginia University Tissue Bank."


It is the goal of the Pathology Laboratory for Translational Medicine to provide the research community with the technical services necessary for growth and development in the world of investigative research. The services that will be provided by the laboratory are essential to an institution upholding a status of high recognition nationally and internationally. At a time when new discoveries generated by basic biomedical research are applied to pathology practice, accessibility to the most modern scientific methods becomes imperative. The following services will be provided at the Pathology Laboratory for Translational Medicine:

  • Routine Histology - Routine processing, cutting and H&E staining will be offered at our laboratory. Aided by automated equipment, our laboratory will provide this service in an appropriate time frame with consistent quality.
  • Immunohistochemistry - this diagnostic staining is done primarily on formalin-fixed, paraffin embedded tissues. This technique evaluates antigen expression and permits assessment of phenotypic properties, such as cell origin and prognostic features. With the aid of automated equipment the laboratory will provide the research community with expeditious, high quality service.
  • In Situ Hybridization - allows the localization of definitive nucleic acid sequences directly within a cell or tissue. High specificity is ensured through the action of complementary nucleic acid binding sequences. ISH techniques can be used to identify infectious agents in tissue sections, localize gene expression within individual cells, or detect specific DNA sequences in the genome of cells. We offer also FISH and CISH techniques.
  • Immunofluorescence Staining - is performed on frozen sections of skin, kidney, lymph node and tumors. It is used to diagnose immune-mediated diseases of the skin, mucosae and the kidney. It is also used to immunophenotype lymphoid proliferations and several other types of tumors. It allows the identification of specific cell-differentiation genes and the expression of reporter genes. Modified protocols may allow the study of paraffin sections.
  • Imaging – services will provide the research community with additional options and new opportunities to document photographically and quantify research material.
  • Interpretive - services will allow the research community to utilize the expertise of faculty members of The Department of Pathology. The anatomic pathologist’s morphologic diagnostic skills and expertise in correlating morphologic changes with biological phenomena to assist researchers in the study of their tissues.
  • Tissue Microarray - allows generation of multiple specimen slides that contain hundreds of individual tissues. Instead of incubating and analyzing samples one slide at a time, tissue microarrays (TMAs) allow you to examine hundreds of samples with just one slide. For example, an immunocytochemical analysis from 600 different tissues can be completed in a day.
  • TUNEL – Apoptosis plays an important role in the homeostasis and development of all tissues within an organism. In contrast to necrosis (cell death by accident), apoptosis is a well regulated physiological process. Any disturbance of the balance between cell proliferation and cell death maintained by apoptosis can result in serious disease, in particular cancer. TUNEL staining allows for interpretation of apoptotic cells. Charges applicable to TUNEL staining will involve any request for processing or microtomy. The TUNEL stain is $28.00 per slide.
  • RNase Preparation/Collection
Research Forrest