Information about tissue donors and our extensive sample collection is held centrally in a database system that is available online via a content management system. Tissue bank staff are able to keep an accurate record of the tissue in our main ICHTB collection using this system.
When samples are harvested from surgery (or otherwise), a record is created containing pseudo-anonymised information about the donor, the operation, and the samples harvested. Histology information is added to this record at a later data where possible. Each donor is given a code name that is unconnected with any identifying information and linking information (to the donor's NHS ID) is stored securely on the  ICHT network. Information about any extracts taken from samples can be added to the sample record as and when required. All of the above information applies to the main ICHTB collection.

Database schema

 Other sample collections are grouped in sub-collections which are also represented in the database. A sub-collection record contains information about the Principal Investigator involved, the type of samples collected, the consent gained and the samples collected. Principal Investigators and other designated members of staff are able (but not compelled) to use the online database system to record information about donors and samples in their sub-collections.

The database is compliant with the GDPR legislation. More information on the database can be found in The Imperial College Healthcare Tissue Bank IT Infrastructure. Information on Imperial College's Privacy policy can be found on the JRCO's Data protection page.

Registration of a sub-collection permits only collection and storage of tissue. Hosting samples in a sub-collection on its own does not provide ethical approval to use them in research studies. A further process of approval is required before samples can be released to researchers. Further information on accessing samples for use in research can be found in Using Human Samples in Research. Information about samples and extracts used in research is kept in a project record. The project record contains information about the aims of the research , the research PI and the samples and extracts used. The database provides a facility to track issue of samples from sub-collections to specific projects. 

In some cases, experimental results are uploaded to the database and linked with the sample that generated them. This greatly enhances the value of the remaining samples for the donor. If you would like to discuss how this could be achieved with results from your experiment. please contact Chris Tomlinson.

These processes ensure compliance with both the Tissue Bank's ethics approval and the HTA regulations.
All tissue collections are subject to a rolling audit to ensure that information held by the ICHTB is accurate and that records of consent, samples stored and sample usage are properly monitored by the PI of the sub-collection.