The five-year award of the Research Resource for Human Tissues and Organs (RRHTO) Cooperative Agreement funds NDRI’s Human Tissue and Organs for Research Resource (HTORR) Program. Established in 1987, the HTORR Program provides NDRI with NIH funding to support research programs across multiple disciplines. It is through the HTORR program that NDRI provides 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. A core grant from the NIH Office of the Director, Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP) is supplemented with additional funding from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), National Eye Institute (NEI), National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).
“NDRI’s mission is service to science through the provision and distribution of human biospecimens to support research,” said Bill Leinweber, President and CEO of NDRI. “In partnership with the NIH, we are privileged to contribute to the research efforts of scientists across the life-science disciplines.”
“Support from the NIH affirms the strong value of our mission,” said Gene Kopen, PhD, NDRI’s Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and principal investigator for the HTORR grant. “As an organization, NDRI has demonstrated the capacity to leverage this support to enable a broad range of complex research projects requiring human organs and tissues.”
A unique element of NDRI’s work supported through this agreement is provision and distribution for neurological research through the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). In the last five years, NDRI has provided 884 neurological biospecimens to 79 researchers, including normal and pathological tissues representative of 20 distinct diseases, including ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy, pure autonomic failure, Lewy body dementia, and spinal muscular atrophy. Also, the NHLBI provides funds primarily for tissue collection, storage and distribution in support of research into the rare lung disease lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM), as well as other heart, lung, and blood tissue research.
“NDRI is most grateful for support from the NIH which allows NDRI to partner with scientists throughout the world to expand the horizons of medical knowledge and discover new clues addressing today’s most pressing disease challenges,” said Mary Hendrix, PhD, President of Shepherd University and Chair of the NDRI Board of Directors.
The National Disease Research Interchange (NDRI) is the nation’s leading source of human tissues, cells and organs for scientific research. A not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) organization founded in 1980, NDRI is funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, public and private foundations and organizations, pharmaceutical and biotechnology corporations. NDRI is a 24/7 operation that partners with a nationwide network of over 130 tissue source sites (TSS), including organ procurement organizations (OPOs), tissue banks, eye banks, and hospitals. The TSS, are distributed throughout the USA, in 45 states, with concentrations in major metropolitan areas on both the east and west coasts. Their wide geographic distribution allows NDRI to provide biospecimens from donor populations with diverse demographics and also facilitates the timely and efficient provision of fresh tissues directly to researchers across the U.S. and around the world. By serving as the liaison between procurement sources and the research community, NDRI is uniquely positioned to support breakthrough advances and discoveries that can affect advances in the treatment and cure of human diseases.