MGH Tissue Repository

The goal of the Massachusetts General Hospital Tissue Repository is to collect human tumor surgical specimens for distribution to researchers in the Massachusetts General Hospitals scientific community, and to the broader biomedical science community as well. Tumor specimens are now available for distribution to researchers.


The MGH Tissue Repository has been in operation since 1996. It was established through a collaborative effort between the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, the Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology, the Department of Medicine and the Department of Pathology.

Tumor specimens are collected through the hospital's operation rooms. Resected specimens are sent to the frozen section lab where they are dissected for diagnosis by the pathology staff. Excess tissue is collected by the pathology staff/ the Repository's Pathology Assistants, and snap frozen for transportation and storage in liquid nitrogen. If available, samples of corresponding normal tissue are also gathered.

Over 33,000 specimens have been collected and catalogued by the Repository, of which thousands have been distributed to researchers. The specimens have been used successfully for a wide variety of research purposes. For example, they were used for extraction of RNA, DNA and proteins and for human molecular genetics studies. Some researchers have been able to establish specific tumor cell lines. The research results generated by using the MGH Repository specimens have been published in outstanding research journals, Cell 90, 785-795 (1997). If possible, tumors may be gathered prospectively at the request of a researcher.

Samples are available for distribution to qualified investigators. See pdf file above, "Tissue Listing 2008," for an abridged list of tissues by site and diagnoses.

To obtain tissue:

An Application for Specimens must be completed and submitted for approval. See the application labeled "Application 2008."
Phone: 617-724-7355.

Approval is based on scientific feasibility of the proposed study and availability of the requested tissues. Depending on scope of the study and number of samples requested, additional information or arrangement may be required before an application is approved. Tissue request(s) from large-scale projects (requiring more than 30 samples), as well as multicenter studies require consultation with Repository's director who will help determine the details to be included in the application for specimens.

For requests from outside of the Partners HealthCare System, in addition to the above application, a brief Material Transfer Agreement, pdf file "MTA 2008," must be completed and returned to the MGH Tissue Repository.

For information:

Email: or Phone: 617-724-7355.

MGH Tissue Repository
Warren Building, Rm 112
55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114

Back to Top