With many neurodegenerative disorders, biomarkers – chemicals that can be measured in the blood, urine, or CSF and reflect disease status of an organ – are an important component of clinical evaluation and assessment of responses to therapy. Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Frontotemporal Dementia, and ALS currently lack any "lab tests" of this nature, but numerous laboratories across the world, including several at Mass General Brigham, are working to develop such tests. Samples from patients with these types of diseases and from healthy controls and disease controls are critical for development of these tests and to assessing their reliability once they are developed.
The mission of the MIND Tissue Bank is to collect, store, and distribute CSF and clinical information from individuals with neurodegenerative disorders, disease controls and healthy controls to qualified researchers. Participants who are undergoing a lumbar puncture for cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) for routine clinical testing will be asked to donate additional or excess CSF for research purposes.
CSF is collected from all patients who are referred for a lumbar puncture (LP) at the Mass General outpatient LP clinic and are willing to donate to the tissue bank. CSF is collected and aliquoted before being stored at -80⁰C within 5 hours of the draw. Some patient LPs do not produce enough CSF for extra to be given for research; for these patients, the bank collects any excess or discarded CSF after all routine clinical tests have been done.
The MIND Tissue Bank tests each samples for total tau, phosphorylated tau and Aβ42 levels in-house (Alzbio3 assay). Additional data is gathered from the LMR, and thus the availability of specific data will vary from sample to sample. However, total protein and glucose levels as well as cell counts are generally available for all CSF samples.
We are currently accepting proposals from qualified researchers from both inside and outside the Partners network. If you would like to request a sample from our bank, contact principal investigator Steven E. Arnold, MD with a short introduction as well as a letter of intent which must include hypothesis, proposed assays, and significance of your project for biomarkers and/or neurodegenerative diseases.