Researchers: Frequently Asked Questions

Who is NDRI? 
The National Disease Research Interchange (NDRI) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded organization that provides project-driven human biospecimen service to academic and corporate scientists. Founded in 1980, NDRI has more than 40 years of experience in global distribution of human biospecimens for biomedical research.


Is NDRI a tissue bank?
NDRI is not a tissue bank. We predominately provide project-specific biospecimens. Over time, we have accumulated and banked select frozen and fixed biospecimens, but this is not our primary mission. To check availability of samples in our inventory, call us at (800) 222-NDRI (6374) and ask to speak to a member of the Scientific Services Department, or email us at research@ndriresource.org.


What types of specimens can NDRI provide?
NDRI provides diseased and non-diseased human biospecimens with annotated data. Our extensive recovery network has the expertise and resources necessary to provide nearly every anatomical structure, organ and tissue type via multiple preservation methods.


What is NDRI’s recovery network?

NDRI works with US-based organ procurement organizations (OPOs), tissue banks, eye banks, hospitals, and independent recovery personnel to recover project-driven biospecimens. In all cases, the donors (or their next-of-kin) have provided informed consent to procure biospecimens for biomedical research.

Our recovery network includes the following capabilities:

  • Tissue and eye banks provide a diverse range of anatomical structures, organs and tissues from post-mortem donors. They typically recover biospecimens within 14 to 24 hours post-mortem.
  • Hospital surgical centers provide discards from living donors. They typically preserve biospecimens within 4 to 6 hours post procedure.
  • Organ procurement organizations (OPOs) provide whole organs and tissues from post-mortem donors that will not be used for transplant purposes. They typically recover specimens within 4 to 6 hours post-mortem.


What is NDRI’s tissue de-identification policy?

NDRI requires all tissue source sites in the NDRI network to: obtain informed consent in writing from any tissue donor (or the next-of-kin) for the use of that tissue for research, keep a signed consent/authorization on file at the tissue acquisition site, include language in the consent/authorization form that indicates that the tissue is an anatomical gift for which no compensation is given, and redact all incoming documents related to donors to ensure that researchers receiving tissues cannot identify or contact the donor or donor’s family.


Do you charge a fee for samples?
Yes. Although individuals or next-of-kin freely donate all tissues for research use, a sophisticated infrastructure is necessary to match samples with researchers and to procure, process and ship samples. Fees are necessary to support this infrastructure.


Can I control the number of biospecimens I receive?

Yes. All procurements are automatic meaning you will not be called to screen donors prior to a recovery. However, as part of the application process, you will provide donor and recovery parameters including how many samples you wish to receive at what frequency. NDRI then develops a customized procurement protocol for your research based on the parameters you provided. Since we procure tissues on a project-driven basis, we can never guarantee when a potential donor will become available so we ask that you make your desired frequency of delivery numbers as accurate as possible. You can adjust your parameters at any time, but we require 48 hours’ notice to apply any requested changes


Which tests do you include in the infectious disease panel?
NDRI’s infectious disease panel includes:

  • HIV-1/2 antibody
  • Hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg)
  • Hepatitis B virus core total antibody (anti-HBc)
  • Hepatitis C virus antibody

NDRI may report other serology data, but donors cannot be ruled “unacceptable” based on reactivity in any test other than those included in the above list. We offer testing for biospecimens recovered from organ, tissue and ocular donors. This testing is not available for biospecimens recovered from surgical procedures.


Do I need Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval for my project?

Academic researchers must provide a copy of your IRB approval letter or an IRB exemption letter from your institution. Corporateresearchers may utilize an external IRB or provide a letter from a company official (other than the Principal Investigator) statingthat the use of human tissue in your research is authorized and universal precautions will be strictly followed.


To learn more, contact:
Scientific Services

Email us at research@ndriresource.org or call (800) 222- NDRI (6374), ext. 391

NDRI is a Not-For-Profit (501c3) Corporation.