Musculoskeletal System

Current Research Tissues Needed


Musculoskeletal system tissues encompass, muscle, bone, spine, cartilage, vertebral bodies, synovial fluid and synovial membrane. Researchers use these tissues to investigate causes, and better ways to diagnose and treat a number of disorders, including arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, muscular dystrophy, cancer and multiple sclerosis.

Investigators are currently using donated musculoskeletal system tissues to:

  • Uncover the molecular culprits that underlie arthritis or the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis;
  • Develop better tumor detection and diagnostic equipment;
  • Design techniques to regenerate tissue and organs damaged by wear and tear or disease;
  • Design footwear for diabetics that will reduce their chances of needing amputation;
  • Study the mechanical stimulation on joints in order to better understand lower back pain, and;
  • Develop new techniques to improve spinal fusion surgeries and bone fracture treatments, including use of natural or synthetic compounds that stimulate bone repair.

NDRI will place the following musculoskeletal tissues with researchers:

Muscle: adult donors of any age. Researchers need 2 to 20 grams, which should be fresh or snap frozen.

Cartilage: donors up to age 80 years, including those with osteoarthritis or degenerative disc disease. Researchers require a minimum of 4 grams, which should be shipped fresh or snap frozen.

Bone: donors of any age, including donors with osteoarthritis. Bones should be shipped fresh or frozen.

Spine sections or whole spines: donors of any age. Researcher protocols usually require T12 to L5 spine section to whole spine, which can be shipped fresh, frozen, or snap frozen.

Vertebral bodies: donors of any age as long as they did not have current sepsis, recent substance abuse, cancer or blood disease. Vertebral bodies should be recovered from L1 to L15 of the spine.

NDRI usually cannot accept tissue from a donor that had an infectious disease, such as hepatitis.


View our recent Private Donor Program webinar presentation:

Accelerating Biomedical Research via Private Donation



The NDRI has had an enormous impact, and contributed enormously to the research of thousands of scientists.  It is one of the best examples of how the efforts of a handful of private citizens can have a major impact on diseases that afflict millions of people around the world.

Abner Notkins, M.D.

For more information about NDRI's Private Donor Program

An NDRI coordinator can be contacted 24/7 at 800-222-NDRI (6374) you can also e-mail us at

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