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Archived tissue that would otherwise be unused has supported valuable research. The scale and scope of the tissue resource is unprecedented, with archives stretching back many decades. BRAIN UK is completely reliant on the co-operation and support of its Participating NHS Neuropathology Centres.  BRAIN UK now encompasses access to over 400,000 cases in more than 20 Participating Centres, with over 165,000 cases currently listed on our database. Below are some of the ways we are impacting neuroscience research:

Studies Supported

There has been a steady increase in the number of requests to BRAIN UK since its inception, reflecting the growing awareness of its value as a tissue resource amongst the neuroscience research community. To date there have been over 174 applications for samples from nearly 100 different users. The application process to BRAIN UK is much simpler than applying for individual project ethics and NIGB approval. Taking into account all of the studies that we have supported, this could represent a saving of over 130 months effort.


To date 70 eligible projects have submitted end of year reports. Of those that have been running for at least 12 months, more than 50 have produced around 40 publications and 40 abstracts. Nearly 130 presentations had been made, more than 60 posters displayed and around 40 grant applications have been successful - generating almost £5,000,000 income.

Illustration of BRAIN UK collaborations.  Note: London is made up of 5 Participating NHS Neuropathology Centres and collaborations between these and local Universities are not shown.
Some of the BRAIN UK collaborations.


To date there have been 69 requests for samples from 48 new users in 27 institutions. The Participating Centres of BRAIN UK are NHS departments whereas the researchers are almost exclusively University staff, so almost all studies represent new collaborations between the NHS and University sectors.

Outside of this, to date there have been around 30 collaborations generated by applicants and Participating Centres working within the BRAIN UK network. Geographical spread is indicated in the map. Please note that ‘London’ is made up of 6 Participating NHS Neuropathology Centres and collaborations between these and local Universities are not illustrated.

Samples Supplied

The total number of cases supplied to researchers is around 6,500. Some projects have required large numbers of tissues that have been required to be co-ordinated across multiple sites and others have required small numbers but of rare tissues that have been difficult to identify. Both our local R&D registrations and use of local contacts are utilised to save researchers time.

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