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The Tissue Procurement and Processing Facility (TPPF), supports both the clinical and research missions of the Laboratory of Pathology within the National Cancer Institute (NCI). 

The TPPF supports the researchers of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by collecting and distributing high-quality tissue samples through procurements and biobanking. Researchers must complete a Tissue Research Committee (TRC) form and have IRB approval or exemption to access tissue from procurements or tissue from the LP tissue banks.  With proper approval, TPPF services are available to all members within the NIH.

Samples from the tissue bank are for research purposes only and may not be used for clinical diagnosis. Samples are de-identified during the collection process (except for tissue requested from autopsy cases).  Clinical information relating to the patient, other than age, sex, race, and primary diagnosis, is not collected.

In support of the clinical team, a pathologist, pathology resident or pathologists' assistant is directly involved with procurements to ensure surgical margins are protected and to secure adequate diagnostic tissues.

Tissue Procurement 

  • The TPPF staff will meet directly with the PI/research team to develop a custom protocol for tissue collection and processing.
  • A CRIS Research Tissue Procurement Request must be placed prior to the procurement.  This form verifies enrollment in a specific protocol and serves as a record of transfer for the biospecimen.  The specimen procured must be documented on this form, and the form must be signed by a TPPF staff member and a member of the research team before the biospecimen can be released from LP. 
  • The Hot-Seat Resident or PA works with the research team to obtain samples.
  • Tissue will be procured under clean and/or sterile conditions.
  • Once the tissue is collected and passed to the research team, it is the researcher’s responsibility to freeze/stabilize the tissue per the method detailed in their individual protocol.
  • Tissues may be collected from a variety of anatomic sites.
  • Surgical tissues available for procurement include: normal, diseased/benign, malignant.

Biospecimen Banking

Normal Frozen Tissue Bank

    • The TPPF staff collects and stores normal (non tumor) tissues (not needed for diagnosis) for current and future research projects.
    • Specimens are collected under clean conditions
    • Samples are collected one of two ways:  placed in a nunc tube and frozen in liquid nitrogen or placed in an OCT block and frozen.
    • The samples are stored in a -80 C freezer for long term storage. 
    • When placed into the normal tissue bank, samples and data are de-identified.
    • Sample code numbers are used to maintain patient confidentiality.  The data is logged into Lab Matrix and given a generic Lab Matrix code.
    • Documented information includes:  tissue type, age, sex, race, primary diagnosis.
    • De-identified specimens are not traceable.  The pathology report, including final diagnosis cannot be obtained.

Formalin Fixed Paraffin Embedded

    • Excess tumor and normal tissue (not needed for diagnosis) from surgical cases and autopsy are collected and placed into the Laboratory of Pathology's Formalin Fixed Paraffin Embedded (FFPE) Tissue Bank.
    • Samples are given a generic accession number XX- for surgical specimens and XA- for autopsy.
    • These samples have been in formalin fixative for at least 24 hours prior to processing.
    • Surgical samples are de-identified.  Only the following information is documented:  tissue type, age, sex, race, primary diagnosis, and time in formalin.  The pathology report and final diagnosis cannot be obtained.
    • Autopsy samples do not have to be de-identified.  Any information can be given to the researcher with proper documentation from IRB. 




Last updated by Young, Sarah (NIH/NCI) [E] on May 11, 2016