Human tissue samples are invaluable when it comes to genetic research and testing for diseases. Tissue microarray slides are often looked upon as the most important asset by any firm associated with:

  • Biotechnology
  • Big pharma companies that are associated with the discovery and development of new drugs
  • Organizations that conduct research studies for third parties on a contract basis

When researchers have access to properly preserved, high-quality tissue samples, they can carry out their pre-clinical testing procedures quickly thereby reducing the timeline of an already lengthy process by many folds. It not only helps them to complete the task at hand but also make sure that the money and resources of their investors are not wasted.

Why it is so important to preserve human tissue samples?

Human tissue samples or specimen as researchers put it, should be preserved as soon as possible after being obtained from medical facilities like a hospital or a clinic. As soon as human tissue separates from the source, it starts to deteriorate in an accelerated way. It is one of the many reasons why when it comes to tissue preservation, not many can readily rely on a service provider as preserving tissue samples is a hard-to-master skill.

It should be kept in mind that human cells die after 48 hours of separation from the source. After that, the cell walls become thin which leads to excretion of protein from the cells that further add to the situation leading to a changed composition of the genetic information.

Such a sample is of no use especially if researchers want to test the negative impacts of a new drug on human cells. One should always choose a tissue sample provider that make sure the duration between tissue collection, storage and preservation are as small as possible.

So what are the best possible methods when it comes to preserving human tissue samples?

The processes change every time. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ technique since the preservation process depends on the following variables:

  • Tissue type
  • Time allotted for delivery of samples
  • The intended use of the samples

That being said, let us now take a quick look at some viable preservation processes for human tissue samples:

Flash-frozen method

It is ideal for preserving non-viable human tissue samples like a tumour. The tissue sample is placed in a container which is then flash frozen using liquid nitrogen for about half an hour. After that, the sample is then stored at a temperature of -150°C and shipped using dry ice. It is perfect when the TAT is less than 24 hours.

Dissociated method

It is the perfect method when the goal is to collect a sample and to keep the same that has an intact mix of the diverse cell population that consists of:

  • Epithelial
  • Endothelial
  • Hematopoietic
  • Fibroblast

All of the above forms of the cell are generally seen in a tumour which when cryopreserved in a medium that is devoid of animal protein results in cell viability that is more than 70 percent after researchers thaw the samples.

Genetic research needs a continuous supply of high quality, properly preserved human tissue samples. It is one of the reasons why one should always partner up with a supplier that is adept in various techniques of human tissue sample preparation and preservation. While selecting a partner, be sure to ask them whether they use the two methods mentioned above for best results.