The UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC) Tissue Directory and Coordination Centre (the Centre) has been set up to improve researchers’ access to human tissue samples. One of the Centre’s main outputs is an online tissue directory which will hold information about sample collections across the UK and make it easier for researchers to find and access samples for high quality research.

In this blog, the UKCRC Tissue Directory and Coordination Centre’s Project and Engagement Manager, Emma Lawrence introduces the project and discusses how the UK Bioindustry can help shape its future direction.

What is the UKCRC Tissue Coordination Centre?

The Centre is the UK’s national biobanking initiative, it represents a first step in integrating national biobanking infrastructure to support research activity. It currently has three main work programmes:

  1. The Tissue Directory – promoting the visibility of UK human tissue samples;
  2. BBMRI-ERIC – working to promote quality and interoperability within Europe;
  3. Engagement – working with people and organisations to promote best practice, governance and public engagement.

The Centre was established in 2014 by the UKCRC Experimental Medicine Funders Group in order to achieve their Vision for Human Tissue Resources.

The Centre has therefore been established to promote best practice, harmonisation and standardisation, and to increase sample visibility in the hope that this will lead to increased sharing of samples, creating a more efficient UK research environment.

What is the UKCRC Tissue Directory?

The Centre has launched a UK wide Tissue Directory. The directory contains the details of biological samples and data, held across more than 80 biobanks in the UK. You can also search for existing capabilities to request fresh or bespoke tissue collections.

Human tissue samples are routinely collected by researchers and biobanks across the UK but, until now, finding tissue samples appropriate for research could often be time-consuming. The directory aims to facilitate communication between researchers and biobanks, providing a quick and efficient route for researchers to access appropriate samples and data to match their research needs.

Researchers can search the online directory and locate appropriate tissue samples held by a specific biobank, based on the associated datasets available, the age and gender of donors, and the sample type. It is possible to search the directory using the specific disease term, by viewing the list of diseases or the A-Z of Biobanks.

Watch the introductory video below

Why is this important to the UK Bioindustry?

The Centre want to engage with all stakeholders in the human biosample community. To make it a resource that works for everyone we’re interested in your feedback, please visit the website and contact us to let us know what you think.