Brain banking in the twenty-first century: creative solutions and ongoing challenges
Rivka Ravid,1 Young Mok Park2,3
1Brain Bank Consultants, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; 2Division of Mass Spectrometry Research, Korea Basic Science Institute, Ochang, South Korea; 3Center for Cognition and Sociality, Institute for Basic Science, Daejeon, Republic of Korea
Abstract: Brain-banking organizations that collect and supply clinically and neuropathologically well-documented tissue specimens are essential for high-quality research into neurological and psychiatric disorders. The growing number of sophisticated neurobiological techniques that can be applied to human specimens obtained from donors at autopsy has increased the pressure on brain banks (BBs) to provide tissue for research conducted within the scientific community and pharmaceutical companies. A number of active BBs have been established worldwide in the past decade, and form an important link between tissue donors, their relatives, clinicians, neuropathologists, and scientists. There are established rapid-autopsy systems in various countries, based on local donor programs. These facilitate collection of tissue specimens, with the informed consent of donors with neurological and/or psychiatric disorders, and from controls. BBs are facing an urgent need for a consensus on the clinical and neuropathological diagnostic criteria that will make their specimens suitable for high-quality research. The benefits of this will be considerable, as improved understanding of neurological and psychiatric disorders will contribute significantly to the elucidation of their underlying disease mechanisms, and this has the potential to identify rational therapeutic targets.
Keywords: postmortem autopsy, ethical, legal and social issues, proteomics, neurological disorders, matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization–mass spectrometry
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