A MLD mom recently asked about donating her son’s brain and other tissue to research after he passed. There is no more personal or profound donation that can be made to advance MLD research. This post is a lightly edited copy of my response to this special MLD mom …
It’s always difficult to talk about tissue donations. It’s a very sensitive and personal topic. Our desire at MLD Foundation is that you be informed and consider tissue donation … it is critical that researchers have access to MLD tissues, including brains and other organs, to better their basic science understanding and to focus and expedite their work toward therapies.
UMB Brain & Tissue Bank at the University of Maryland
We currently recommend the UMB Brain & Tissue Bank at the University of Maryland.
We have visited them several times over the years, met with and queried their staff, and know first hand they treat every sample with the greatest respect. They have been a primary national tissue bank for the NIH (National Institutes of Health) for over 15 years and allow access by non-NIH researchers from academic institutions and pharma companies so donations them them are very accessible.
They do all of their work behind the scenes and while they prefer the donation paperwork to be signed and placed on file in advance with them and your local care team, they can often work quickly if things suddenly take a turn for the worse and they need to move more quickly.
What does this cost? Can I have a normal memorial and viewing?
There is no cost to your family. Taking tissue samples does not affect your ability to have any form of traditional memorial ceremony or viewings.
The paperwork is fairly simple. You can learn more, including registering online here: http://www.medschool.umaryland.edu/btbank/family/
Here are two videos that may answer a few more questions and help convey the value of tissue donations:
– Mystery Disorders of the Brain
– About the Brain and Tissue Bank
We are happy to help you along in this process. MLD tissue, especially brain tissue, is very valuable. Don’t worry that you do not live in the Maryland area – they can arrange for the tissue samples to be taken in nearly any city across the US.
If you have any other questions please let us know.
p.s. MLD Foundation is investigating using additional tissue banks, but the Univ. of MD is currently our primary choice for donations. Keeping as many samples as possible in one place as opposed to scattering them at multiple institutions makes the tissues a more accessible and valuable resource.