Tissue Procurement FacilityBioNet's mission is to serve as a centralized resource for standardized patient consent, sample collection, processing, storage, quality control, distribution, and electronic record maintenance.

Since the 1996 inception of BioNet, over 80,000 tissue samples including well-preserved samples of malignant and benign tumors, organ-matched normal tissue, and other types of diseased tissues, have been collected from surgical specimens obtained at the University of Minnesota Medical Center-Fairview (UMMC-F) University Campus. Approximately one-third of these specimens have been distributed to researchers, the remaining ~two-thirds are available for research, and ~5300 new specimens are obtained annually.

BioNet personnel work closely with pathologists, pathology residents and fellows, and medical students. Surgical pathologists are intellectually engaged in BioNet functions, providing researchers with specimen-oriented medical consultation to facilitate research productivity. Prior to surgery, BioNet personnel identify and consent patients for procurement of tissue, cytology specimens, blood, urine, saliva, and ascites fluid. Within the integrated working environment of the surgical pathology laboratory, freshly obtained tissues not needed for diagnosis are selected and provided by pathologists to BioNet personnel. Tissue samples are then assigned an independent code and processed by:

  1. freezing in liquid nitrogen followed by storage in the vapor phase of liquid nitrogen,
  2. embedding in O.C.T. compound on dry ice followed by storage at -80°C,
  3. fixing in formalin and subsequently embedding in paraffin,
  4. providing as fresh tissue for immediate use, or
  5. BioNet staff can also work with researchers to individualize the procurement of tissues to fit specific research needs

Tissue is distributed only to researchers who have obtained Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval or exemption for specimen use. BioNet personnel may provide assistance to researchers during the process of applying for IRB approval for tissue use.