Biorepository & Tissue Analysis Services

The Biorepository & Tissue Analysis (BTA) Shared Resource offers the following services. Prior to services being performed, the requestor must submit an order form (PDF).  

Upon receipt, the operations manager will contact the requestor, review the request, request additional information if needed, and provide a pricing proposal. Please note: All requests for specimens undergo committee review for approval.

Consent and Processing for Biospecimen Collection

The BTA maintains Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval for a blanket consent that permits the procurement of biospecimens for general banking to be used for future research as well as biospecimens collected specifically for research studies already IRB-approved. The blanket consent also allows patients to continue donating specimens for up to one year from the consent date. The consent allows the specimens collected to be used for genetic research, and patients agree to be re-contacted for up to five years from the consent date for follow-up clinical data.

Clinical Data Linking

When researchers request clinical data elements to accompany specimens, the BTA serves as an honest broker and provides de-identified clinical data to researchers upon receipt of appropriate IRB approval for their research. If the researcher has approval for identified clinical data, the BTA can provide this as well under the BTA’s IRB-approved protocol. Access to clinical and pathologic data is available via MUSC’s enterprise-wide clinical data warehouse that integrates the clinical and research IT systems.

Tissue Microarrays

As a resource to facilitate high-throughput evaluations, the BTA provides Hollings-prepared TMAs for research use. Additional services include assisted TMA construction, complete custom consultation, and construction of TMA blocks. Routine immunohistochemical staining, analysis, and images of results for the TMA slides are also provided.

Tissue Fixation, Processing, and Embedding

Both animal model and clinical research require the production of high-quality tissue samples for morphological and molecular analyses. Quality control of tissue collected by the BTA is performed by a research pathologist, Dr. Shao. This includes verification of disease, evaluation of tissue quality, and assessment of the percent of tumor in each sample. Frozen and FFPE tissues are routinely sectioned. Standard H&E staining and immunohistochemistry staining services are also available.

Tissue Analysis Services

  • MALDI tissue imaging: With specific expertise in MALDI mass spectrometry imaging (MALDI-MSI), the BTA can offer researchers this novel service to spatially profile proteins, lipids, and drug and small molecule metabolites in tissues. Using this approach, a global snapshot of major cellular biomolecules is obtained, including their tissue localization and distribution, structure, and relative concentration. The preparation and analysis workflows are readily linked to standard histopathology procedures, and the method can be applied to any frozen tissue type. MUSC and BTA users have the ability to use this method to characterize differences in the expression of glycans, glycolipids, and sphingolipids in tissues of clinical interest. Detection of drug distribution and metabolism in tissues derived from pre-clinical model systems is also available. Analysis of peptides and glycans in formalin-fixed tissues is an additional service.
  • RNA/DNA extraction: Cellular DNA, RNA, and protein prepared by the BTA from banked specimens, or any other biomolecules submitted by investigators, can be qualitatively assessed by the Agilent Bioanalyzer prior to use for downstream applications such as microarray and/or qRT-PCR analysis.
  • Laser capture microdissection: This service enables researchers to identify specific cellular elements under a microscope and isolate them by laser dissection and collection. In this way, highly enriched regions of the tumor or stroma can be evaluated at the molecular level. This service can be performed with human and animal tissue. Collected cells and images of extracted regions are provided.
  • Immunohistochemistry services: The BTA develops novel immunohistochemistry techniques utilizing new antibodies and other reagents. This includes evaluation and quantification of tumor sample staining as well as slide images of results.