Barriers to the release of human tissue for clinical trials research in the UK: a national survey of cellular pathology laboratories on behalf of the National Cancer Research Institute's Cellular Molecular Pathology (CM-Path) initiative

Philip S Macklin (Corresponding Author), Andrew Hall, Jessica Lee, Jane Hair, Valerie Speirs, Gareth J Thomas, Karin A Oien, Clare Verrill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


AIM: To survey UK cellular pathology departments regarding their attitudes and practices relating to release of human tissue from their diagnostic archives for use in clinical trial research.

METHODS: A 30-item questionnaire was circulated to the National Cancer Research Institute's Cellular Molecular Pathology initiative and Confederation of Cancer Biobanks mailing lists. Responses were collected over a 10-month period from November 2016 to August 2017.

RESULTS: 38 departments responded to the survey, the majority of which regularly receive requests for tissue for research purposes. Most requests come from academia and financial support to facilitate tissue release comes from a variety of sources. A range of practices were reported in relation to selection of the most appropriate sample to release, consent checking, costing and governance frameworks.

CONCLUSIONS: This survey demonstrates wide variation in practice across the UK and identifies barriers to release of human tissue for clinical trial research. Until we can overcome these obstacles, patient samples will remain inaccessible to research. Therefore, this study highlights the urgent need for clear and coordinated national guidance on this issue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-57
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Pathology
Issue number1
Early online date1 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2019



  • Cancer
  • Cancer research
  • Laboratory management
  • Academies and Institutes
  • Laboratories
  • Humans
  • Pathology, Molecular/ethics
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom
  • Clinical Trials as Topic/ethics
  • Pathology, Clinical/ethics
  • Specimen Handling/ethics

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