Successful Completion of the HTORR ASD Brain Recovery Program

NDRI has successfully completed the Human Tissue and Organs for Research Resource (HTORR) Autism Spectrum Disorder Brain Recovery Program.

We are proud of what we have accomplished over the last seven year of participation with our Human Tissue and Organs for Research (HTORR) ASD Brain Recovery Program, supported by the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH). This administrative supplement grant has enabled NDRI to directly partner with the NIH NeuroBioBank to support cutting-edge research by providing Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) investigators with access to valuable donated human brain biospecimens. NDRI’s collaboration with the NIH Neurobiobanks allowed us to provide postmortem ASD brains to further research into the etiology of ASD.

“It has been a privilege for NDRI to put our expertise to work support ASD-related research. The generosity of donor families eager to contribute to the advancement of understanding of ASD has been remarkable. We are grateful to all of the donor families and our organ procurement organization partners,” said Bill Leinweber, President and CEO of NDRI. “We are privileged to continue to expand our work to provide urgently needed human tissue to advance neurologically related research.”

The HTORR ASD Brain Recovery Program coordinated with NDRI’s network of Tissue Source Sites to screen and recover post-mortem brains from ASD and control donors. Once recovered, the biospecimens were shipped to the NIH Neurobiobank at the University of Maryland Brain and Tissue Bank under the direction of Tom Blanchard, PhD, JD to process and coordinate the distribution of biospecimens to investigators.

“NDRI has been an essential partner of the University of Maryland Brain and Tissue Bank in expanding the recovery of tissue donations from donors with autism spectrum disorder. Such cases are of extreme interest to the neuroscience community but have become less available in recent years, particularly from pediatric and young adult donors. NDRI has provided an indispensable service in acquiring these cases. Their network of field technicians, informative office representatives, and ability to preserve and transport tissues of high quality in a timely and reliable manner have been crucial to our success in helping us meet the needs of the biomedical research community.”

Tom Blanchard, Ph.D., JD
Director, University of Maryland Brain and Tissue Bank

The HTORR ASD Brain Recovery Program by the numbers:

  • Total ASD Brain Recoveries – 52
  • Average post mortem internal (PMI)– 19
  • Average RIN Value (an RNA integrity number for assigning integrity values for RNA measurements) – 6.3
  • Average Age – 37.9 with 25% of those 20 years of age or less
  • An additional 13 control brains were recovered with an average age of 16.5, average PMI of 17, and an average RIN of 5.6

NDRI’s ASD grant was a supplemental grant to our Human Tissue and Organs for Research Resource (HTORR) program grant funded by the Office of the Director and several NIH institutes.. This program has been funded by the NIH for over 30 consecutive years to support research programs across multiple disciplines. Through the HTORR program, NDRI provides academic biomedical investigators with donated normal and diseased human tissues and organs recovered from a diverse donor pool using customized procurement, processing, and preservation and distribution protocols.