Objectives The use of primary human neural tissue for research provides an invaluable insight into human neural function that cannot be achieved in any other way. Despite this it is successfully collected and used in only a small minority of units. We have established a collaboration between Neurosurgical Unit and the University that allows us to study using human tissue resected during neurosurgery. Tissue is most commonly collected from oncological, epilepsy and vascular operations. Here we share our experiences of the practicalities and try to provide some insights for practicing neurosurgeons.
Subjects We discuss the practical difficulties of the co-ordination of the clinical and academic teams, and challenge of optimization of the tissue for the research. We will present the mechanisms in place to optimize the study of human neural tissue. We will review the progression from resection of limited tissue to any neurosurgical procedure in which the normal brain is resected and tissue discarded. We discuss the different models that can be used and the application locally to glioma stem cells, pathways activated in TBI and the electrophysiology of the normal brain.
Conclusions We will present examples of the value of human tissue studies, including electrophysiological differences between humans and rodent that could only be investigated through the use of live human tissue. We will also demonstrate how we have moved to streamline tissue collection and propose a move to establish a national framework.
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