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Brain Tumour Tissue Bank

The Brain Tumour Tissue Bank has been collecting human brain tumour specimens for research in Canada and internationally since its establishment in 1991.

A wide variety of primary and secondary brain tumour tissues and spinal tumors are available for molecular, protein and structural studies.

Nothing like the real thing

Research on Brain Tumours depends on the availability of human brain tissues. Although other research models have been developed, none completely reproduce the pathophysiology of human brain tumours.

The Brain Tumour Tissue Bank, located in London Health Sciences Centre in London, Ontario, Canada has a wide variety of primary and secondary brain tumours, spinal tumours, peritumours and normal brain tissues available for molecular, protein, enzyme and immunohistochemical studies.

Tumour specimens are supplied to qualified researchers in the hopes that some day the cause of and cure for brain tumours will be found.

Interested researchers are required to fill out an application form, which is reviewed by the Medical Advisory Committee of the Bank.

Quality Control

All of the control slides are graded by the Bank’s neuropathologist as Good, Moderate, or Poor depending upon the amount of tumour present (tumour vs necrotic, fibrotic, haemorrhagic, and cauterized tissue).

In addition, all infiltrative tumours (gliomas) are graded from control slides as follows:

i) tumour centre
ii) heavy tumour infiltrate
iii) light tumour infiltrate
iv) scant tumour cells
v) no visible tumour cells

Detailed clinical information is updated regularly and is available to researchers upon request. All information is kept strictly confidential. Unique Brain Tumour Tissue Bank numbers are used for identification purposes.

Types of Specimens Available

Depending on inventory levels, a variety of brain tumour specimens are available in variable numbers. These may include:

  • Astrocytoma WHO I. II, III
  • Craniopharyngioma
  • Ependymoma
  • Fibrosarcoma
  • Ganglioglioma
  • Glioblastoma
  • Gliosarcoma
  • Hemangioblastoma
  • Malignant rhabdoid tumor
  • Medulloblastoma
  • Meningioma
  • Metastasis – bowel, breast, colon, kidney, lung, melanoma, etc.
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Neurocytoma
  • Normal Brain
  • Oligodendroglioma WHO II and III
  • Oligoastrocytoma WHO II and III
  • Pituitary adenoma
  • PNET
  • Pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma
  • Schwannoma

*** Matching whole blood samples and paraffin sections are also available with most cases.

Tissue Preparation

Brain Tumour Tissue BankThe specimens are obtained immediately upon removal and processed in the operating room for optimal molecular, biochemical and histological preservation.
Depending upon the size of the removed tissue, multiple samples are prepared from each case. Each sample is then divided into three or two sections (depending on size of sample):

The first is cut into smaller fragments, laid along the inside of a cryotube and “SNAP FROZEN” in liquid nitrogen. These tissues are ideal for molecular and protein studies.

The second (middle piece) is placed in formalin for H&E stained CONTROL SLIDE preparation and is examined by the neuropathologist. This process is extremely important as it enables to classify what is actually banked (eg. tumour vs necrosis), and to identify tumour gradient for infiltrative tumour types such as gliomas.

These paraffin-embedded tissues are also available for research.

The third is cryoprotected by being embedded in OCT freezing medium and frozen in liquid nitrogen. These tissues are ideal for immunohistochemical and histological studies. The OCT samples are only prepared on cases where extra tissue is available.

For application forms or additional information, contact:

The Brain Tumour Tissue Bank
London Health Sciences Centre
University Campus – Rm. C7-108
339 Windermere Rd.
London, Ontario, Canada
N6A 5A5
Tel (519) 663-3427
Fax (519) 663-2930


YouTube Video Thumbnail

See the Brain Tumour Tissue Bank in action

This short video shows the Brain Tumour Tissue Bank and explains the process of collecting and processing the tissue that is so critical for research.