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Tissue Management

Providing IRB-approved centralized tissue procurement services, fresh tissue collection, histology services, and tissue microarrays for Cancer Center members.

The Tissue Management Shared Resource was established to provide Institutional Review Board-approved centralized tissue procurement services for specimens derived from consented human participants. A full description of our services is listed below.


All service requests are managed through iLab. Please log into our iLab website to request any services, including data requests. If you do not have an iLab account, please follow these step-by-step instructions to set up an account (tips to navigate iLab and for principal investigators using iLab are also available).

Archival Biospecimens

More than 30,000 tissue specimens including from breast, lung, prostate, kidney, bladder, colon, liver, and pancreas, and bodily fluids including blood, urine, and pleural fluid are archived. Each tissue aliquot is evaluated by a board-certified anatomical pathologist to determine tumor cellularity. The resource has both frozen and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue, serum, plasma, and buffy coat aliquots available for research projects.

Specimen-related data are captured and stored in our tissue management database, OpenSpecimen, and correlated with clinical information through the UT Southwestern tumor registry. UT Southwestern researchers can quickly search specimen availability on the intranet using the Specimen Catalog. The catalog currently includes specimens collected since 2014. If you need assistance with searching the Specimen Catalog, please refer to the tip sheet. For more detailed inquiries, please contact the resource manager ( All specimen or clinical data requests are managed through the iLab website.

Series of biospecimen images

Fresh Tissue Collection

In parallel with the banking effort, the Tissue Management Shared Resource offers prospective procurement services of fresh tissue or blood. The prospective procurement is coordinated with the surgical staff, pathologists, and investigators. All prospective procurement requests must be approved by the resource director and tissue-specific committees and reviewed on a yearly basis. Please log into our iLab website to request specimens.


Routine histology methods for formalin fixation, vacuum infiltration, and paraffin embedding are used by the Tissue Management Shared Resource. FFPE tissue sections are typically cut at 4 microns and can be stained with hematoxylin and eosin. Tissue processing and staining are fully automated. Please log into our iLab website to request histology services. Bring a printed copy of the request to the resource when dropping off specimens.

Series of histology images

Tissue Microarrays

The tissue bank has pre-existing tissue arrays for a variety of invasive cancers. Each array is annotated with clinical information including tumor histology, grade, stage, and overall survival. Please contact the resource manager (cheryl.lewis@utsouthwestern.eduto obtain more information.

Immunohistochemical Staining Services

The resource provides immunohistochemical services using the Dako/Agilent Autostainer Link 48 system. This open system allows for flexibility in designing custom staining protocols, use of non-Dako reagents, mouse or rabbit primary antibodies, and staining of human and animal tissues. The primary antibody is provided by the investigator.

Antibody Optimization and Staining: We have successfully optimized antibodies from vendors such as Cell Signaling, Sigma, Abcam, Santa Cruz, and Millipore. Before purchasing an antibody for IHC, clients should schedule a meeting with the resource manager ( to discuss the project, and review the Dako/Agilent website to determine whether an optimized antibody is readily available (>200 antibodies). Log into our iLab website to request IHC optimization or staining services, and bring a printed copy of the request to the resource when dropping off the unstained slides or blocks.

Series of immunohistochemistry images

Directed Banking

The Tissue Management Resource is able to assist with patient consent, and with the processing and storage of specimens for any investigator's cancer-related study. Standard operating procedures will be developed specific to the study. The resource has ample storage for ambient or frozen specimens. All our ultralow freezers are monitored 24 hours a day with an external monitoring system.

Service Fees

The use of shared resource specimens and services are available to Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center members, other UT Southwestern scientists, and external researchers. Fees for histology services and procurement services are subsidized for Cancer Center members working on oncology projects. Members also have priority for specimens with limited inventory. Please contact the resource manager (cheryl.lewis@utsouthwestern.eduwith any additional questions.