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Diagn Mol Pathol. 1992 Mar;1(1):73-9.

Role of the frozen tissue bank in molecular pathology.

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Department of Pathology, Tufts University School of Medicine, New England Medical Center Hospitals, Boston, MA 02111.


The new discipline of molecular pathology requires that high-quality, intact genomic DNA, mRNA, and proteins be available from frozen tissue samples. It is now necessary for pathology laboratories to establish consistent guidelines for the preparation and storage of frozen tissue samples in order to have properly preserved tissues available for diagnostic molecular techniques. Maintaining a frozen tissue bank requires a pathologist to oversee this program and to integrate it into the routine surgical pathology activities. A member of the laboratory technical staff can serve as a tissue bank coordinator and have responsibility for preparation of tissue samples, their systematic storage and retrieval, and routine maintenance of equipment and supplies. Tissue sampling must be done as soon as possible after excision of the specimen and is the responsibility of a qualified pathologist. The samples may be snap frozen without cryoprotection at -78 degrees C or colder for subsequent use in procedures requiring the extraction of genomic DNA, mRNA, or protein. To preserve tissue architecture and cytologic features for immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization, the tissue should be frozen at -78 degrees C or colder with a cryoprotectant such as OCT. Long-term storage of the frozen tissue is recommended at -140 degrees C or colder in a locked liquid nitrogen freezer, and the record of sample inventory can easily be kept in a computerized database. Tissues sampled and stored under these conditions have been used successfully in a wide variety of molecular techniques. In addition to malignant tumor tissue, samples from benign lesions and normal tissues should be frozen.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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