NHS Blood and Transplant, Tissue and Eye Services

Who is Tissue and Eye Services?
NHSBT Tissue and Eye Services (TES) is a human tissue bank based in Liverpool. TES is the largest tissue bank in the UK and one of the largest in Europe, issuing 12,000 human tissue allografts each year to surgeons for transplantation purposes. TES is set up to retrieve tissue for both clinical and R&D use.

Supporting greater access to human tissue for research 
TES can provide human tissue for ethically approved research either:

  • From tissue taken for clinical use but then found to be unsuitable for transplantation – TES staff ask for research consent during the consent process or; 
  • From research donors who are unsuitable for clinical donation.  

In both cases, consent can be obtained for specific tissue if required. Tissues are retrieved within 48 hours of death (24 hours for ocular tissue).

What tissues are available?

  • Skin – cellular and decellularised
  • Bone – whole, shaped, ground, demineralised 
  • Tendons
  • Hearts and heart valves
  • Arteries
  • Eyes, cornea and ocular globes
  • Amniotic membrane
  • Many other tissues on request

Tissue can be supplied fresh, frozen, freeze dried or cryopreserved.

Helping to reduce the use of animals in research
Respiratory diseases (e.g. asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) are often uniquely human conditions, making it difficult to interpret data generated in animal models and apply the knowledge gained in a logical way to the human disease process.

TES has recently joined in a collaboration with Imperial College London (funded by the NC3Rs) to investigate the potential of using lung, trachea and vagus nerve tissue from diseased donors in research into respiratory disease.

TES will provide human tissue with full donor family consent at various times after death for evaluation in a series of well-established assays. The objective is to determine whether human tissue from deceased donors can be used successfully and to produce guidelines on the most appropriate conditions under which the tissue can be retrieved and used. The data obtained can be extended to other organ/tissue systems, thereby helping to further reduce the need to use animal-based assays in human disease research.

How can researchers get access to TES human tissue?
Researchers can apply to TES directly by contacting Paul Rooney (Research and Development Manager) at paul.rooney@nhsbt.nhs.uk

A sample list of tissue available can be found on the NHS Blood and Transplant website.