Lal S, Li A, Allen D, Allen PD, Bannon P, Cartmill T, Cooke R, Farnsworth A, Keogh A, Dos Remedios C

Biophys Rev 2015 Dec;7(4):399-406

PMID: 26998172


This review provides a guide to researchers who wish to establish a biobank. It also gives practical advice to investigators seeking access to samples of healthy or diseased human hearts. We begin with a brief history of the Sydney Heart Bank (SHB) from when it began in 1989, including the pivotal role played by the late Victor Chang. We discuss our standard operating procedures for tissue collection which include cryopreservation and the quality assurance needed to maintain the long-term molecular and cellular integrity of the samples. The SHB now contains about 16,000 heart samples derived from over 450 patients who underwent isotopic heart transplant procedures and from over 100 healthy organ donors. These enable us to provide samples from a wide range of categories of heart failure. So far, we have delivered heart samples to more than 50 laboratories over two decades, and we answer their most frequently asked questions. Other SHB services include the development of tissue microarrays (TMA). These enable end users to perform preliminary examinations of the expression and localisation of target molecules in diseased or aging donor hearts, all in a single section of the TMA. Finally, the processes involved in managing tissue requests from external users and logistics considerations for the shipment of human tissue are discussed in detail.