London Brain Bank for research on neurodegenerative diseases: a resource for the neuroscience research community

Lead Research Organisation: King's College London
Department Name: Clinical Neuroscience

Abstract

The purpose of the Brain Bank project is to advance the understanding, and enable research into the underlying causes, of neurodegenerative and neurological diseases by providing brain tissue to neuroscientists. The Brain Bank collects brain and spinal cord tissue from a variety of diseases, including Dementia (such as Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy Body Dementia), Autism, Schizophrenia and Motor Neurone Disease. Tissue is also collected from donors without such conditions to act as a healthy comparison in scientific studies.

Brain tissue is studied in detail by neuropathologists and the disease is diagnosed according to internationally agreed criteria. Samples of brain tissue in various fixation states, such as frozen and formalin-fixed, are made available to Neuroscience research centres throughout the UK to help study the causes and develop new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for brain diseases.

The Brain Bank enables donation of tissue through an ethically approved programme of informed consent, we aim to ensure donor care and keep contact with donor families, informing them of diagnosis and research progress. We follow the most recent ethical guidelines for best practice in Brain Banking, from recruiting donors and consent for post mortem examination to gold-standards of tissue collection, sample storage and the provision of tissue to researchers.

A further objective is to provide professional teaching, training, information and educational resources for neuroscientists. We also promote knowledge of brain banking through scientific meetings, public open days, collaboration with charities and MRC newsletters.

Technical Summary

Well-characterised and neuropathologically-assessed brain tissue is one of the most important resources for research in neurodegeneration and vital for the further development of research strategies and future treatments. There has been spectacular progress during the last two decades, which has increased demand for high quality brain tissue from brain banks. The MRC Brain Bank at the IoP has become a leader in the field of brain banking and a major source of high quality brain tissue not only for researchers at the IoP and elsewhere in London but nationwide and thus contributed to the success of many research programmes. Material from the Brain Bank is also essential for the success of on-going research programmes. The aim of this application is to achieve the gold standard in brain banking by programmed brain donation, including regulated ad-hoc donations, following best practice in ethical matters relating to consenting, donor family care, high standards of storage of brain tissue and easy access to tissue for researchers. We aim to focus our banking on neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer?s Disease, Motor Neurone Disease and movement disorders but facilitate other smaller collections, such as psychosis and autism in order to enhance research in these areas. The ultimate goal is to contribute to understanding the mechanisms of neurodegeneration, in order to prepare the way for new scientifically based treatments and prevention as well as play an integral part in clinical studies and the evaluation of clinical trials.

Publications

10 25 50

publication icon
Alafuzoff I (2008) Assessment of alpha-synuclein pathology: a study of the BrainNet Europe Consortium. in Journal of neuropathology and experimental neurology

 
Description Mortuary guidelines of assisting in donations
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
 
Description ART Brains for Dementia Research Project
Amount £272,983 (GBP)
Organisation Alzheimer's Research UK 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2008 
End 03/2013
 
Description MRC Brain Bank - renewal of grant
Amount £619,758 (GBP)
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2011 
End 10/2013
 
Title Brain Net Europe Database 
Description A database of tissue samples held in brain banks who are members of the Brain Net Europe Consortium 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of Data/Biological Samples 
Year Produced 2006 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Increased collaboration, increased requests for tissue from Europe 
 
Title Brains for Dementia Research tissue database 
Description Database containing information on tissue samples housed at the brain banks forming the Brains for Dementia Research Network 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of Data/Biological Samples 
Year Produced 2009 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Increased sharing of tissue between brain banks 
 
Description Brain Net Europe Network 
Organisation Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU Munich)
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution One of the founding member brain banks (now 19 members)
Collaborator Contribution Under European Commision FP6 funding - money was provided to all the member brainbanks for network activites and work packages over the 6 year period.
Impact Increased collaboration between brain banks, standardisation of procedures and criteria and joint projects. Publications: 19330340 19184666 18849605 18371174 18365220 18343933 18219257 17465988 17165101 16896308
 
Description Brains for Dementia Research 
Organisation Cardiff University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Projects are ongoing
Collaborator Contribution Collaborative research projects, sharing of tissueCollaborative Research projects and sharing of tissueCollaborative research projects and sharing of tissueCollaborative research projects and sharing of tissue
Impact Increased numbers of brain donors, who will have thourough clinical assesments prior to donation.
Start Year 2008
 
Description Brains for Dementia Research 
Organisation Newcastle University
Department Institute for Ageing and Health
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Projects are ongoing
Collaborator Contribution Collaborative research projects, sharing of tissueCollaborative Research projects and sharing of tissueCollaborative research projects and sharing of tissueCollaborative research projects and sharing of tissue
Impact Increased numbers of brain donors, who will have thourough clinical assesments prior to donation.
Start Year 2008
 
Description Brains for Dementia Research 
Organisation University of Bristol
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Projects are ongoing
Collaborator Contribution Collaborative research projects, sharing of tissueCollaborative Research projects and sharing of tissueCollaborative research projects and sharing of tissueCollaborative research projects and sharing of tissue
Impact Increased numbers of brain donors, who will have thourough clinical assesments prior to donation.
Start Year 2008
 
Description Brains for Dementia Research 
Organisation University of Manchester
Department Community-Based Medicine
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Projects are ongoing
Collaborator Contribution Collaborative research projects, sharing of tissueCollaborative Research projects and sharing of tissueCollaborative research projects and sharing of tissueCollaborative research projects and sharing of tissue
Impact Increased numbers of brain donors, who will have thourough clinical assesments prior to donation.
Start Year 2008
 
Description Brains for Dementia Research 
Organisation University of Oxford
Department Oxford Centre for Human Brain Activity (OHBA)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Projects are ongoing
Collaborator Contribution Collaborative research projects, sharing of tissueCollaborative Research projects and sharing of tissueCollaborative research projects and sharing of tissueCollaborative research projects and sharing of tissue
Impact Increased numbers of brain donors, who will have thourough clinical assesments prior to donation.
Start Year 2008
 
Description Article for Epilepsy Research magazine 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Health professionals
Results and Impact Article on brain donation and use of tissue

Increased interest in using epilepsy tissue
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
 
Description BBC 2 Television Documentary 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Brain Bank staff interviewed and filmed for the 'Terry Pratchett' documentary

Increase in enquiries and brain donations
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
 
Description BBC Radio 4 Interview 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Brain Bank staff were interviewed as part of a Dementia programme

N/A
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description ITN News television interview 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Staff and labs were filmed as part of the brains for dementia research project launch

Increase in donations and enquiries
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description Public Open Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact Presentation about the work and research of the brain bank, what tissue is used for and how donation occurs - to 100 people.

Increase in enquiries and registrations for brain donation
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2006,2008,2010,2011