You are here

Frequently Asked Questions

What is covered by the Materials Transfer Agreement when buying tissues?

This is the draft version of the MTA which may be modified by your institute and agreed with ShARM. The points that are pertinent are summarised here:

The Materials provided by the Repository are subject to the following conditions of use:

  • The Materials are to be used for the purposes of in-house research only. If the Recipient wishes to use the Materials on a commercial basis, a formal written request must be sent to the Repository.
  • Intellectual property rights in the Materials remain with the original Depositor or with the Repository as applicable. The Recipient owns intellectual property rights in the results of the use of the Materials.
  • The Materials are not to be transferred or transmitted to any third party without written approval from the Repository.
  • The Repository is to be informed of, and acknowledged in, all publications relating to the results of research using the Materials.
  • Any loss, claim, damage, or liability, of whatsoever kind or nature, which may arise from the use, handling or storage of the Materials by the Recipient is the sole responsibility of the Recipient.

How much do tissues cost?

£35 for each aged tissue (6+ months)

£30 for each young tissue (0-6 months)

Plus shipping costs and VAT

We are a not-for-profit organisation, so tissues are sold at cost.

How are the tissues fixed?

Samples are either

  • flash frozen in cryovials in liquid nitrogen, transported on dry ice and stored at -80oC
  • Formalin fixed and paraffin wax embedded

Full details of the SOP can be found here

What information is required/available about the mice to be donated/requested?

  • Contributor information
  • anonymous institute ID
  • Mouse info
  • mouse strain, DOB, gender, breeder status, source, provision of young, control models, procedure / treatment of animal
  • Cage details
  • type, size, animals per cage, air changes per hour, frequency of cage change, type of environmental enrichment used
  • Nutrition
  • type of chow, chow composition, chow processing prior to use, feeding regime, watering regime, water type / treatment, water delivery system
  • Sacrifice
  • Anticipated date of sacrifice, time, method used, gross anatomical observations, tissue treatment history

What are the conditions of contribution of tissues?

We will register any colonies and accept any mouse tissues donated, provided that full details of the mouse, treatment and husbandry conditions are collected with ShARM assistance and an MTA is established.

How do you ensure the quality of the tissue?

We consider tissue quality to be of the utmost importance, and have measures in place to ensure all tissues contributed to the biorepository meet a high standard. Full details of the SO

  • Rapid fixation
  • For frozen samples, the gut and brain re fixed within 3 minutes of the death of the animal. All other tissues are fixed within 10 minutes of the death of the animal.
  • For formalin fixed, paraffin embedded samples, the gut and brain re fixed within 6 minutes of the death of the animal. All other tissues are fixed within 20 minutes of the death of the animal - although in practice, these times are usually much less.
  • Standard operating procedure
  • All tissues are collected and processed according to a well defined protocol (available here)
  • Well trained operators
  • Tissue are collected by highly skilled technical staff
  • High quality facilities
  • Samples are stored in dedicated spaces, ensuring quality is maintained
  • Robust data capture
  • The information about the mice is well documented and is available with tissue purchase. Information includes mouse specific information, such as strain, age, sex, welfare issues, notes at necropsy and husbandry information.

Can you not find the tissue you are looking for?

If you need to find a tissue type that is not already in the tissue list, or you need a tissue which is not frozen or formalin fixed, please visit our live ageing colonies

Will my identity or research be disclosed?

We respect your privacy, and will never divulge any information that would reveal an individual's research or findings. The source of the tissues will only be divulged if your colony is part of the live ageing colonies and a researcher is to visit your site. This would only be done with our full understanding and express permission. Contribution is voluntary and involvement in the facility may be withdrawn at any time.

How will the tissues I contribute be collected?

Tissues can be collected in one of two ways:

  1. ShARM can attend the site at the predetermined date of collection and collect samples
  2. Full training can be provided in internal members of staff who can carry our the collection according to the SOP

Can I claim any money for contributing tissues?

Wherever possible, we encourage researchers to freely donate surplus tissues in accordance with the principles of the 3R's. We are a not-for-profit organization with limited funds available for tissues purchase. If the tissue collection will be undertaken by staff in the donating facility, then a small amount of money is available that allows us to offer financial compensation for the time taken to collect the tissues, should it be required and provided the following conditions are met:

  • Full details (as above) of the mouse, treatment and husbandry conditions are supplied
  • Mice are at least 20 months of age
  • Tissues are collected according to our standard operating procedure
  • At least six of the following are donated from each mouse: bone, brain, mammary tissue, brown adipose, gut, heart, kidney, liver, lung, muscle, pancreas, serum, skin, spleen, thymus, white adipose
  • Young (less than six months) comparative controls are also available to purchase

If the tissues you wish to contribute do not meet these criteria, please contact us.

Registering as a live ageing colony

What are the live ageing colonies?

Some researchers require samples not available in the biorepository. This may be because:

  • They require a tissue type not collected
  • They require a specific process / treatment to be undertaken on fresh samples
  • They require an alternative fixation method
  • They wish to undertake behavioural studies

What will happen if I register my colony as a live ageing colony?

If you register a live ageing colony with us, you are demonstrating a willingness to allow other researchers access to your mice or the tissues at the time of sacrifice. We collect information about the mice (detailed above) and make this available online. If a researcher requests access to your mice/for tissues from your mice, we will get in touch to inform you of the details of their request. If both of you are happy to proceed, we will facilitate the exchange of contact details to enable you to coordinate collection of the tissues.

How do I access mice in the live ageing colonies?

If you have checked the biorepository and the tissue you require is not available you may wish to access mice through the live ageing colonies. The live ageing colonies is a list of colonies of ageing mice where the owner has demonstrated a willingness to allow other researchers access to their mice or the tissues at the time of sacrifice. If you would like access please contact us with your requirements. ShARM will liaise with the colony owner and if your request is approved we will facilitate the exchange of contact details to enable you to coordinate collection of the tissues.

Does ShARM charge for access to the live ageing colonies?

No. This is a free introduction service. If payment is to be made this should be discussed with the colony owner.

Does ShARM establish an MTA for the live ageing colonies?

No. If this is required, this must be arranged between the investigators.

Who funds the facility?

The facility is funded by the Wellcome Trust and sells tissues in order to become self sustainable and remain in existence to serve the ageing research community.