From a surgical resection to high quality research samples

From a specimen in the operating theatre to a sample stored in the biobank

Informed consent

A prerequisite for storing tissue samples in our biobank is an informed consent of each patient. Typically, samples for our biobank are selected and taken in the frozen section suite in the routine pathology lab. Alternatively, a pathologist located directly in the operating theatre may select and take a sample for our biobank. For each workflow we have dedicated standard operating procedures (SOP), specifying the details.

No disturbance of the patient treatments

Selecting and taking samples for our biobank is only performed by or under supervision of a senior pathologist at our Institute of Pathology. This assures that under no circumstances the routine worklflow for patient diagnosis and therapy is compromised. Collecting tissue samples for our biobank takes place without delay after the routine process has finished; this assures that the time period between receiving the specimen, selecting and taking the sample, and freezing in liquid nitrogen for the biobank is as short as possible.

Short cold ischemia duration

The so-called "cold ischemia duration", i.e. the time period between tissue resection by a surgeon and freezing in liquid nitrogen in our biobank, is typically no longer than 30 minutes. There are indications that a long cold ischemia duration where the cells in the resected tissues are still alive but have less oxygen and less nutrients can have an influence on RNA and protein profiles as the cells react under these circumstances. This can directly affect results for molecular examinations.


All steps in our workflow for tissue collection are documented. We document sample-associated parameters, e.g. type of tissue, number of tissues taken, and quality-associated parameters, e.g. warm and cold ischemia durations.The samples and connected data are pseudonymized and stored saparately for data protection.

From a tissue sample to a high quality research sample

How to receive a tissue sample for research

Where a researcher is interested in getting tissue samples from out biobank for research, a written application is needed which has to be approved by the Board of the biobank. After approval, the samples are identified in our dedicated database and taken from the nitrogen storage device.

Preparation of the samples - histopathological inspection

Then the frozen samples are cut, H&E stained and a professional histopathological diagnosis is made from that piece of tissue intended to be used for research. The diagnosis and the tumor cell content are evaluated by a senior pathologist. The results of this expert tissue inspection is made available to the researcher. If desired adjacent frozen tissue sections are made or larger pieces of the tissue sample can be used. At no time point the tissue is allowed to thaw from taking the sample from liquid nitrogen to handing over the sample to the researcher, as this may affect the molecular make-up of the tissue sample.

Optional services

Besides a detailed histopathological diagnosis, additional services are offered by our biobank, e.g. generation of tissue microarrays (TMA), immunohistochemistry, isolation of DNA, RNA or proteins.


The tissue samples are handed over to the user together with a detailed protocol and information about further specifications, e.g. no delivery to third parties, use only as specified in the application.