Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center (HBTRC) Statement
IFCR collaborates with The Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center (HBTRC) to allow autopsy samples to be safely stored for future investigation. In light of the following media regarding the Harvard Anatomical Gift Program, we want to assure you that the CDD brain bank is unaffected. Below is a statement from HBTRC.
We are appalled by the recent news and fully understand your concerns.
The Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center (HBTRC) has no affiliation nor interactions with the Anatomical Gift Program at the Harvard Medical School that is currently in the news. Brain donations to the HBTRC are received directly by our laboratory at McLean Hospital.
We adopt very stringent protocols to track tissue donations and monitor their implementation meticulously. Our staff undergoes extensive training, and is required to re-train annually, on issues related to tissue stewardship, privacy protection, record keeping and safety. Issues related to respect for each donor and their families and ways to honor their wishes to further medical research are discussed on a regular basis during our meetings. Internal quality control systems record the intake and distribution of tissue in detail. Our laboratories, housing tissue and relevant information, and database systems are exclusively accessed by trained HBTRC staff and are protected by stringent encryption systems. Only NIH approved researchers can request tissue through the NIH NeuroBioBank portal (https://neurobiobank.nih.gov/) and tissue requests are reviewed by a group of internal and external experts.
Our measures to protect the donor’s identity are particularly stringent and are dictated and monitored directly by NIH. Clinical and tissue information is de-identified, so that it cannot be linked to identifiable personal information regarding tissue donors and their families. These protocols are approved by the Massachusetts General Brigham Internal Review Board (IRB) -and are designed to making it impossible to track individual cases. However, we carefully track tissue samples shared with investigators and NIH requires researchers to report back on the use of tissue they received and the outcome of their research. We can assure unequivocally that tissue is distributed only to accredited research laboratories that fulfill NIH criteria for ethical use of human brain tissue.
Recognizing the invaluable nature of brain donation and the generosity of brain donors and their family, we treat each with the utmost respect. We are humbled by the trust that donors and their families place on us and are deeply committed to honor their wish to contribute to research in the most respectful manner.