Flowchart for HTA Licence requirement for storage and appropriate ethics approval for research use

Collection and use of human tissues in research is governed by the Human Tissue Authority (HTA) and Research Ethics Committees (REC).

As far as research is concerned, HTA regulations are responsible for governing the way in which human samples are collected and stored, and REC is responsible for governing the use of samples.


This flowchart takes you through the mechanisms needed to access human tissue for research which has been taken for either the primary purpose of research or for diagnosis.


The Imperial College Healthcare Tissue Bank provides the infrastructure to help you use human tissue for your research in a way that is both ethical and compliant with the HTA regulations.




Accessing material taken specifically for use in research

Material cannot be released for use in research until a formal application is approved. Access to samples is open to researchers inside or outside Imperial College London or Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

Accessing samples held in the diagnostic archive

The fixed material is a very valuable resource for research, as it can be linked to extensive information on how the patient has been treated, and how the patient has responded to treatment.

Accessing samples from post mortems

Appropriate consent must be obtained from the patient’s relatives using the post mortem.

Accessing samples from the Human Anatomy Unit

The Human Anatomy Unit (HAU) is a teaching facility which provides anatomy and pathology resources for students and practitioners of medicine and allied healthcare professions.