Spotlight on: Ethical Tissue

Spotlight on: Ethical Tissue

Ethical Tissue logo

Name: Ethical Tissue

Location: University of Bradford

What is your biobank for?

One of our main objectives is utilising tissue for cutting edge research. It is vital that researchers get the necessary tissue to take the scientific and medical world forward in their ideas and developments in both medicine and technology. This tissue is the future.

Tell us about Ethical Tissue:

‘We have been developing a Tissue Donation after Death service over the past few years. It is now something that we can offer to people who want to do something positive and useful in death. Those who have specific diseases which preclude them from donating for therapeutic reasons and those who cannot be organ donors can also participate.

Sadly, only 1% of people actually die in a way in which they can be Organ Donors however, 99% of people can donate tissue for research (only HIV/Hep b/vCJD preclude this)’

What happens to the sample?

‘Small amounts of tissue (not usually whole organs) are taken from one or more areas in the body. We then optimise, anonymise and assign the tissue to ethically approved researchers so they can get an overview of diseased and healthy tissue. This helps develop early diagnostic tests, better treatments and cures for life-limiting diseases such as Cancer, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Heart, Lung and Skin Disease just to name a few.’

What should people consider before donating?

‘There are no delays to any funeral plans, the donor can still be viewed in the normal way by the family and the donation is done respectfully and ethically in a local mortuary. We organise the transfer of the donor to the mortuary and of course return the donor to their desired funeral home/resting place. There is no charge to the family.’

What is unique about Ethical Tissue?

‘We operate a not-for-profit, cost recovery service only and take pride in the fact we supply tissues which are rare and difficult to get, on a bespoke basis. We are a close knit team and will do everything we can to ensure our tissues are matched with the right researcher and right project.

We have recently joined the UKCRC Tissue Directory which means we can now promote our service and capabilities to the whole country. This enables more people to see, at the touch of a button our resources and instantly enquire about our tissues.

We are one of the few Tissue banks to have an ‘umbrella’ license that allows us to provide the tissue quickly and with less paperwork to anyone who is approved by our Independent Advisors. (This takes the place of individual NRES applications).’

What does the UKCRC Tissue Directory mean to you?

‘The UKCRC Tissue Directory will undoubtedly help Tissue Banks like ourselves. We are offering such a wide range of tissues and bespoke services to provide an excellent ‘customer-focused’ service. We are proud to be able to offer an international service which allows any researcher from around the world to access the samples they need. The Biobank creates an excellent virtual link between source and customer. Tissues need to be optimised and used for the improvement of patient care and this will not happen if they do not get utilised in industry and academia.”

For more information on Ethical Tissue, visit:

Ethical Tissue’s website
Ethical Tissue on the Directory

For more information on donating tissue for medical research, visit:

NHSBT on Tissue donation
What to expect when donating
The Human Tissue Authority’s FAQs
Hear and read people’s personal experiences of donating