London Neurodegenerative Diseases Brain Bank; a national resource for neuroscience research

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

Abstract

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 examinations, neuropsychological tests and neuroimaging are also collected. The brain tissue is examined by neuropathologists and disease is diagnosed according to internationally agreed criteria. Samples of brain and spinal cord tissue in various fixation states, such as frozen and formalin-fixed, are then made available to Neuroscience researchers. 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 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 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 and medical trainees. 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 brain tissue. 10. To follow most recent ethical principles for best practice in Brain Banking, from consenting donors to tissue requests and strictly follow the guidelines of the Human Tissue Act.

Technical Summary

Clincally assessed and neuropathologically characterised human post-mortem brain and spinal cord tissue is one of the most important resources for research into neurodegeneration. Continued access to high quality tissue is vital for the development of current research strategies and future clinical treatments. There has been significant research progress during the last three decades, which has increased demand for 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 progress of a number of on-going research programmes. The aim of the Brain Bank is to achieve gold standard in brain banking through 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 MND/FTLD and movement disorders, Alzheimer s disease and related dementias and vascular dementia but also to facilitate other collections, such as psychosis, traumatic brain injury (to study it s relation to neurodegeneration) 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 preventions as well as play an integral part in clinical studies and the evaluation of clinical trials.

Publications


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Al-Chalabi A (2012) The genetics and neuropathology of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. in Acta neuropathologica







 
Description King's Biomedical Sciences Institute PhD Studentship
Amount £100,000 (GBP)
Organisation King's College London (KCL) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 03/2014 
End 10/2017
 
Description Brains for Dementia Research 
Organisation Cardiff University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
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 of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
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 of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
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 School of Community-Based Medicine Manchester
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
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 of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
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 Ask the Experts Panel at International Symposium 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Patients, carers and/or patient groups
Results and Impact A live audience and online audience watched a presentation and then asked questions on ALS research
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U98WU4Zzu8s
 
Description General research dissemination videos on YouTube 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Multiple videos on YouTube, responding to interviews on ALS research
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016
URL https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ammar+al-chalabi+als
 
Description IOP Open day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact 6 groups attended a talk on the work of the brain bank

increased interest and registrations as donors, feedback from those who attended was excellent
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description IOP Public open day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact New registrations

open day oversubscribed, feedback from those who attended was excellent
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description MNDA information video on our research 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A YouTube video posted also on the Motor Neurone Disease Association website, describing our research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://youtu.be/tKz81aFVB04
 
Description Pint of Science talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Team member gave a talk for the 'Pint of Science' series in a London pub to approx. 50 people
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
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 St Georges hospital talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact 20 early onset dementia patients/carers attended a talk on the work of the brain bank

some new donors registered
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Talk to forensic neuropathologists 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Health professionals
Results and Impact Discussion on collaboration to increase donations of head injury and control

N/A
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012