Maritime Brain Tissue Bank

An essential resource for understanding brain disease

The Maritime Brain Tissue Bank is a vital resource for researchers around the world who are seeking to understand the causes and mechanisms of neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disease. Through carefully collecting and cataloguing both diseased and normal brain and spinal cord tissues, the Maritime Brain Tissue Bank is able to provide researchers with the opportunity to study the cellular and molecular changes that take place as disease develops. This in turn sheds light on potential strategies for treating and preventing neurological disease.

Photo courtesy of Brain Repair Centre.

Tissues in the bank

The Maritime Brain Tissue Bank was originally established in 1993 to enable researchers to better understand Alzheimer’s disease. It has since expanded its scope to include tissues donated by individuals affected by other diseases, including:

  • vascular dementia
  • frontotemporal dementia
  • Lewy body disease
  • progressive supranuclear palsy
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Huntington's disease
  • multiple system atrophy
  • multiple sclerosis

Tissues are available to researchers in two forms: formalin-fixed, and frozen.

The brain tissue bank ensures the anonymity and confidentiality of all its donors by encoding each donation with a brain bank number.

Tissue requests

Researchers must submit their requests for research tissues in writing, by completing and submitting the following documents:

All requests undergo an official review process. Once a request is approved, a Maritime Brain Tissue Bank staff member will ship the relevant tissues—along with available demographic, clinical and neuropathological information—to the researcher’s laboratory as soon as possible. The recipient is responsible for the cost of shipping and a $50/hour cost-recovery fee for the time required to process tissue requests.

A tissue donation to the Maritime Brain Tissue Bank is a significant and meaningful way to contribute to a better understanding of diseases of the brain. The brain tissue bank requires healthy brains from people unaffected by neurological disease, so that researchers can compare these to diseased brains. Individuals who wish to donate their brains to the Maritime Brain Tissue Bank should make their wishes known to their family members and health care providers.

For detailed information about making a tissue donation to the Maritime Brain Tissue Bank, please refer to the brain bank’s Information for donors web page.