Purpose The Liverpool Research Eye Biobank (LREB) collects tissue for researchers who wish to study a wide range of ophthalmic conditions and develop new and more effective treatments. Historically the LREB has collected whole globes and conjunctiva from cadaveric donors but in 2021 we expanded to start collecting tissues from living donors who were undergoing ophthalmic surgery in the St Paul’s Eye Unit in Liverpool. The aim was to provide tissue and fluid samples from patients with specific eye disease to research projects and create a bank of ophthalmic samples that can be provided to future research projects. Here we reflect on our experience after a year of collections.
Methods The clinical team discuss donation with patients during the pre-op appointment. Consent is taken on the day of surgery using an electronic consent form available on PENS. Samples are taken according to the patient’s consent preference and then stored appropriately within a fridge/freezer close to theatre. Samples are then transferred for processing to the University of Liverpool (UoL). Fluids such as aqueous and vitreous are preserved at -80°C. The majority of ocular tissue collected is preserved by fixing in 10% neutral buffered formalin then transferred to 70% ethanol for long term storage. On request samples have been preserved using alternative methods such as snap freezing in liquid nitrogen. All samples are logged using a laboratory information management system.
Results Collections depend on the cooperation of the clinical teams and we have had very good engagement from them. The UoL works closely with St Pauls Eye Unit and the physical proximity between the two has been helpful. The location of the storage fridges close to theatre is important to limit extra effort for busy clinical teams. Regular training of consenters was key to ensure compliance with SOPs. In 11 months, we consented 419 donors and collected 673 samples including corneal tissue, iris, sclera, lens/capsule, retinal membranes, tenons, muscle, aqueous, vitreous, blood.
Conclusion After the success of collections from one site we plan to expand to collect from multiple sites including Aintree and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.
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