3 Types Of Biorepositories You Should Consider

With numerous serious and potentially fatal conditions, most people feel helpless because it seems like they cannot make a difference. If you or a loved one is facing a serious illness or you just want to help, finding the appropriate repository can help researchers change the tide in saving lives or better understanding different diseases.

Organ And Tissue Donation

There is a strong need for donated organs and with better transplant medicine, more people are surviving longer with transplants. If you are considering being an organ or tissue donor, it is important to register, typically by agreeing to participate when you update your driver's license or state identification. Additionally, speak with your family about your wish to be a donor. Your next-of-kin will have the final say in the event of your passing, so it is imperative for you to be clear about your wishes.

Some people opt to be living kidney donors. Living donors are often someone special to the recipient, such as a close friend or family member. Unfortunately, it is not always possible for a loved one to donate because they may not be a match. To circumvent this problem, many repositories create a chain where a living donor is willing to give their kidney to someone they do not know who is a match in return for their loved one receiving a kidney from an unknown, living donor. These chains can become complex, with eight or more lives being saved that day.

Cancer Research

Cancer remains a complex disease and a better understanding of each type and sub-type of cancer can improve diagnosis and prognosis. Many repositories accept cancerous tissue for future research. In the event you are the next-of-kin for someone who may not be able to make decisions on their own, you might elect to have some of their tissue sent to a repository for future study. One example is inflammatory breast cancer (IBC). IBC is unique from other forms of breast cancer because it tends to be extremely aggressive and is usually diagnosed at late stages because it progresses quickly. It disproportionately affects African-American women and is negative for hormone receptors, making it difficult to treat and generally has a poor prognosis. Saving tissue from IBC can help researchers understand any genetic markers that make certain women predisposed to developing IBC and help develop better treatment options.

Neurodegenerative Research

Neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer's are among some of the most puzzling conditions. Alzheimer's is still diagnosed based on symptoms because it is a condition that cannot be definitively diagnosed in living people. Additionally, some people potentially have a genetic predisposition that makes them prone to developing Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia at an early age. Saving the brain tissue of those who passed away from Alzheimer's can help researchers better understand the disease, especially those who had early-onset disease. There may be distinct genetic differences between early and late-onset forms of dementia. Additionally, a better understanding of these diseases may provide improved diagnostic criteria and possibly definitive testing methods.

Tissue repositories are critical for better understanding different diseases and saving lives of people with organ failure. To make changes in the fight against these diseases, it is imperative for the public to help researchers by donating.