Pathology: Overview



The Pathology Core is designed to provide comprehensive services for research involving human tissues as follows:

  • The resource provides pathology expertise at all stages of project development and experimentation using human tissue. Pathologists contribute to the design of experiments by providing advice on the clinical and histologic types of tumors appropriate for a specific use and the technical requirements and limitations to be considered. They advise investigators as to availability of appropriate samples and assist in design of individualized tissue and data procurement protocols.
  • The Core serves to procure, process, store and distribute well-characterized neoplastic and nonneoplastic human tissue to suit specific needs of investigators without compromise of patient care. In addition to the paraffin block archives as a tissue resource, the Pathology Core provides an established fresh tissue procurement service and frozen tissue bank that works closely with investigators to serve individual needs. Data associated with each tissue sample is also available.
  • The Pathology Core provides routine histologic techniques, microdissection for tissue component purification, and technical assistance in tissue-based experimentation. The staff assists in selection of appropriate tissues and performs routine histologic procedures such as embedding tissue, sectioning blocks and staining sections. Custom tissue blocks for specific projects can be prepared. This includes both individual tissues and arrayed multitissue blocks. Core technicians section frozen and paraffin-embedded blocks for technical use such as microdissection, immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization. They also prepare stained tissue sections for assessment and quality control. The Pathology Core has a fully equipped microdissection resource and the Core technicians are experienced in a wide range of microdissection techniques.
  • The Core provides immunohistochemistry services including antibody characterization and optimization for immunohistochemistry. The Pathology Core provides tissue sections for, and performs immunohistochemistry as needed. An experienced pathologist, in close collaboration with the individual investigators, evaluates staining characteristics.


The Pathology Core follows a standard procedure for all requests of human tissue for research. Investigators requiring human tissue for research consult with core leaders in the development of an appropriate protocol that includes specific information on the type of specimen needed, and processing. The Human Tissue Utilization Committee, a subcommittee of the Research Council reviews all requests and investigative protocols that require human tissue. This committee helps to establish policy for research use of tissue, and is consulted concerning the best means of accommodating requests and prioritization of tissue procurement.

The Pathology Core requires IRB review for each individual request for human tissue samples prior to research sample distribution. Requests are evaluated to define special needs and design appropriate procedures for procurement. Specimens are allocated in an equitable manner to assure all approved projects receive appropriate types and numbers of samples.