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Overview of the Biorepository Network

The NHS Research Scotland (NRS) Biorepository Network is independently accredited to oversee governance on collection, storage and release of biological materials obtained from informed, consenting patients for use in medical research.  In addition, the Network provides governance support for access to tissues that are held within NHS Diagnostic archives, which includes tissue held within NHS diagnostic archives, including NHS pathology and NHS blood sciences. The Network can also provide support in accessing unconsented diagnostic surplus from within NHS archives.

The Network provides support to commercial and non-commercial researchers, facilitating access to human tissue, collected during routine patient care, across a range of clinical specialities within NHS Scotland, via a single centralised approach. This is made possible by

  • An embedded consent process
  • Expert clinical, pathological and scientific advice
  • Commitment to ensuring donated patient samples support a broad research portfolio

This national approach is designed to encourage the use of tissue in research and boost the availability of tissue, preventing the need for researchers to acquire tissue from multiple sources.

The regional biorepositories and their operation as a network is supported by NHS Research Scotland and the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government.


NHS Research Scotland Human Tissue Accreditation

Human Tissue legislation in Scotland differs from that in the rest of the UK. The NRS biorepositories are therefore accredited by an Independent Expert Panel using criteria comparable to and adopted from those for research tissue bank licensing in England, Wales and Northern Ireland by the Human Tissue Authority.

NHS Research Scotland Central Management Team (NRS-CMT) runs the accreditation process for the Scottish BRs. The process is overseen by an Independent Expert Panel, with NRS-CMT providing support and information to the panel, as well as communicating with the Biorepositories and collating responses.