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Brain Tissue Research

The Brain Tissue Resource Facility (BTRF) at Virginia Commonwealth University is an integral part of the VCU Parkinson's and Movement Disorders Center. Established in 2010, the BTRF is dedicated to assisting families of patients with neurodegenerative diseases in exploring the possibility of an autopsy and human brain tissue donation for research. Discoveries made possible by donated tissue further the understanding of normal and abnormal workings of the human brain. New information about Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, mark the critical first step in the creation of novel, targeted therapies for fighting these diseases.

Years of concentrated effort by the scientific community have made it clear that experiments using cell and animal models to mimic human neurodegenerative diseases do not paint the whole picture of the disease process and have not led to effective therapies. The use of human tissue to validate results obtained from other lines of research is critical to the accurate and efficient advancement of scientific knowledge about these diseases.

By bringing together the efforts of professionals from different disciplines within the VCU community, the BTRF makes it possible for families to gain the information needed about the autopsy procedure. If brain tissue is donated, it is with the knowledge that this delicate tissue will be handled with the utmost care and precision in facilities with the latest in scientific technology.