How To Donate Brain Tissue

Tissue Donation Flow Chart for Next of Kin 

How to Donate Brain Tissue

Important Information for Donors and Families

MS patients wishing to donate should complete the donor enrollment forms (located under the “forms” heading below) and send them to the Rocky Mountain MS Center by mail to the address below. Please note that these are legal documents and should be completed entirely, leaving nothing blank. If you do not know the answer to the question on one of the forms, please write, “N/A”.

Rocky Mountain MS Center
Attn: Tissue Bank
8845 Wagner Street
Westminster, CO 80031

Once the Center has received the documents filled out in their entirety, the donor will receive a donor card in the mail with information on how to donate tissue.

Relatives should notify the Rocky Mountain Multiple Sclerosis Center Lab immediately after death, or before hand if death is imminent.

On-Call Tissue Bank Coordinator: (720) 626-6060

The tissue bank coordinator is on 24-hour call, however, very few arrangements for pathologists can be done after business hours or during the weekend. If the donor is in a critical state, it is beneficial to alert the Rocky Mountain MS Center Tissue Bank of this condition before the time of death. After death, the remains should be transported to the hospital morgue, or the funeral home of the family’s choice and kept cool until tissue removal arrangements can be made.

The research procedures are performed in the course of a routine autopsy and will not delay funeral arrangement or disfigure the deceased. The research procedure is done at no cost to the family. If the donor's residence is not in Colorado, we will contact a local pathologist to perform the autopsy.

 


 

Forms

For Donors:

1. Combined Consent and HIPAA Authorization Form

2. Donor Enrollment Information Form

For Next of Kin:

The Tissue Donation Permit/Disposition Permit form must be completed by the next of kin at the time of the tissue bank donation.
 
 


Frequently Asked Questions for Donors

Why should you donate your bodily tissues?

Multiple sclerosis research is limited to human tissue and cannot be studied in an animal model. Because MS affects the brain and spinal cord, experimentation on these tissues can only be carried out after death when such tissue can be collected. Such studies are designed to increase our understanding of the factors which may play a role in the cause of MS.

How do you donate your bodily tissues?

To donate bodily tissues you need to complete the Combined Consent and HIPAA Authorization Form and the Donor Enrollment Form. The completed forms should be returned to the Rocky Mountain Multiple Sclerosis Center. At that time a Tissue Donation Identification Card will be sent to you identifying you as a donor. Relatives and close friends should know of your donation plans so they are aware of your wishes and the notification procedures. Your next of kin will need to complete the Disposition Permit and Authorization to release medical records at the time of your death.

Who else should know about your plans for donation?

At the very minimum, the legal next of kin should be aware of plans for your tissue after death. Your family physician and/or nursing home administrator should be given copies of the donation forms. Other relatives and close friends should also be notified. After becoming an enrolled donor, will the RMMSCTB guarantee my tissue will be accepted for donation?

Unfortunately, no. The RMMCS Tissue Bank will try to accommodate every incoming donation; however, not all circumstances are optimal for tissue acquisition. Time constraints and location of a local pathologist are often the largest issues. Potential donors can combat these issues by locating a pathologist in their area of residence, and instructing their next-of-kin to call the on-call tissue bank coordinator as soon as possible after death, or before, if death is imminent.

What if one has already willed one's body for transplantation?

Since a virus may cause MS, we do not recommend that eyes, kidneys, or other organs be donated for transplantation.

Legal Advice

It is not necessary to have legal counsel in preparing these organ donation forms. However, different states vary with regard to their donation protocols. If you live outside Colorado, we strongly suggest you review with your physician and/or a local pathologist, state regulations regarding tissue donations to ensure your wishes are complied with. If you wish to contact the Center, we can help you to secure this information. Frequently Asked Questions for Next of Kin How will transportation of the donor be handled?

At the time of death, it is the family’s responsibility to notify their funeral home of choice and indicate that the remains must be held and kept cool for tissue donation. Often times, the funeral home will offer to transport the donor’s remains to and from a procedure room for tissue removal. A Tissue Bank Coordinator will then work with the funeral home to locate a local pathologist and arrange transport to and from the facility for tissue removal.

What is the time frame for tissue donation? If the donation occurs in the Denver area, typically the tissue is removed on the following business day after death of the donor. The tissue removal usually takes 1-3 hours. Afterwards, the Tissue Bank Coordinator arranges the transport of remains to the funeral home of the family’s choice. The remains will arrive at the funeral home for personal arrangements 24-36 hours after death. If the donation occurs out side the state of Colorado, the time of tissue donation will vary depending on the region the donor lives, the day the donor passes away, and the availability of a local pathologist. The time and location of the removal will be done at the discretion of the local pathologist, typically in the local hospital pathology department, or the procedure room at the funeral home and during the following business day. The remains will arrive at the funeral home for personal arrangements 24-72 hours after death.

What is the cost of tissue donation?

There is no cost to donate tissue. The Rocky Mountain MS Center Tissue Bank will pay for all arrangements regarding tissue removal and transport to and from the hospital/procedure room of the local pathologist, or transport to and from University Hospital for donations in the Denver area. The Tissue Bank does not pay for any funeral arrangements regarding the remains after tissue donation.

Will I be able to find out what specific purpose the donor’s tissue will be used for?

The Rocky Mountain MS Center Tissue Bank stores tissue fixed or frozen until samples are requested from a MS investigator. The most recent studies include neurological imaging for improvement of MS diagnosis and characterization of active and chronic lesions.

Will the Rocky Mountain MS Center pay for funeral arrangements such as cremation?

No. The Tissue Bank will pay for any charges accrued during the tissue removal and transport to a facility where the tissue is removed. After the removal, the next of kin is responsible for any funeral arrangements afterwards.

Will we be able to donate the entire body to the Rocky Mountain MS Center?

No. The Tissue Bank can only accept CNS tissue, the brain, spinal cord, optic nerve and cerebral spinal fluid. The remains after the removal of tissue harvest must be released to a funeral home or mortuary of the family’s choice.