London Neurodegenerative Diseases Brain Bank (LNDBB) : a national resource for the neuroscience research community

Lead Research Organisation: King's College London
Department Name: Neurology


The Brain Bank collects post-mortem brain tissue from persons with neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia and motor neuron disease. Wherever possible data from previous clinical presentations, neuropsychological tests and neuroimaging are also collected. The brain tissue is examined by neuropathologists and illness is diagnosed according to internationally agreed criteria. Samples of brain tissue in various fixation states, such as frozen and formalin-fixed, are then made available to Neuroscience research centers along with, where available, spinal cord tissue and cerebrospinal fluid.
The purpose of the project is to provide clinically studied and pathologically verified brain tissue to facilitate and promote internationally competitive research into Neurodegenerative disease.
The Brain Bank aims are to fulfill international recommendations and guidelines with regard to brain tissue banking. As such, this involves the systematic and focused collection of well-characterised post-mortem material and its subsequent distribution to research groups both regionally and nationally. This will necessarily underpin high quality and peer-reviewed research.
The following is a summary of the key functions of the Brain Bank:
1. To advance the understanding of, and facilitate research into the underlying causes of neurodegenerative and neurological diseases through the provision of clinically and neuropathologically well-characterised brain tissue to the research community.
2. To facilitate brain donation through an ethically approved programme of informed consent for cohort studies and ad-hoc donation.
3. To provide pathological diagnosis to the relatives of brain donors according to best national and international protocols.
4. To coordinate the processing and dissemination of well-preserved brain tissue for clinical, biochemical, molecular pathology, genetic and transcriptional research projects, and maintain an open door policy of responding to requesters without prejudice.
5. To ensure ?donor care? and keep contact with ?brain donor? families, informing them about diagnosis and progress in research.
6. To disseminate and promote knowledge of brain banking through scientific meetings, public open days, collaboration with charities and MRC newsletters.
7. To provide professional teaching, training, information and educational resources for neuroscientists.
8. To facilitate collaboration between basic research scientists, pathologists and clinicians to promote transitional research to help develop new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for brain diseases.
9. To maintain gold standards of excellence in Brain Banking for storage of frozen and formalin-fixed brains.
10. To follow most recent ethical principles for best practice in Brain Banking, from recruiting donors and consent for postmortem to tissue requests and follow strictly the guidelines of the Human Tissue Act.

Technical Summary

Clincally and neuropathologically assessed and characterised human post-mortem brain tissue is one of the most important resources for research in neurodegeneration. Continued access to tissue is vital for the further development of research strategies and future treatments. There has been significant research progress during the last three decades, which has increased demand for high quality brain tissue from brain banks. The London Neurodegenerative Diseases 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 throughout the UK and worldwide and has thus contributed to the success of many research studies. Material from the Brain Bank is also essential for the success of on-going research programmes. The aim of the Brain Bank 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 continue to focus our banking on neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer?s Disease, Motor Neurone Disease and movement disorders but to facilitate other smaller collections, such as psychosis, traumatic brain injury and paediatric disorders 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.


10 25 50
Description King's Biomedical Sciences Institute PhD Studentship
Amount £100,000 (GBP)
Organisation King's College London 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2014 
End 10/2017
Description MRC Grant - renewal of Brain Bank
Amount £427,000 (GBP)
Funding ID G0900635 
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2009 
End 10/2011
Description Studentship
Amount £250,000 (GBP)
Organisation British Society for the History of Science (BSHS) 
Department Darwin Trust of Edinburgh
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2014 
End 09/2017
Description Open Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Brain Bank staff gave a talk as part of IOP open day on Neurodegeneration research - approx 100 people attended in small groups throughout the day.

More interest in and understanding of brain donation, more registrations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
Description Public lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Public lecture on the genetics and biology of motor neuron disease
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
Description Public lecture on motor neuron disease research 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Supporters
Results and Impact I spoke at a dinner hosted by the MND Association for major donors at the Royal Institution
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
Description Talk to transplant coordinators 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Health professionals
Results and Impact 15 Tissue transplant coordintors attended talk which emphasised importance and need for brain donation, the research produced and the practicalities involved

more referals from this route
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010