Manchester Brain Bank, based in the Clinical Sciences Building at Salford Royal, is expanding its remit to include the collection of brains with tumours and also brains with vascular pathology. This will support a broader research portfolio at The University of Manchester, both nationally and internationally.
The brain bank has recently been awarded over £400,000 by by the Brains for Dementia Research programme (which is jointly funded by Alzheimer’s Research UK and Alzheimer’s Society) to continue this activity within the national Brains for Dementia Research network until March 2021.
It was established in 1986 by Professor David Mann. Since then it has accrued about 1,000 brains from patients with various neurodegenerative disorders and from healthy, but very elderly, controls. Brains are recruited through various tissue donation programmes including the national Brains for Dementia Research Network, the Cerebral Function Unit at Salford Royal and the Manchester and Newcastle Longitudinal Ageing Cohort.
Brains collected by Manchester Brain Bank have underpinned much of the basic and clinical research into the spectrum of frontotemporal dementia that Manchester has pioneered over the past 30 years. It has an international reputation with over 50 research projects supported since 2012 and over 70 publications arising from tissues supplied/investigated by the brain bank, now under the expert leadership of Professor Mann, Dr Andy Robinson, Dr Anna Richardson and Dr Federico Roncaroli.
Brain banks are central to developing innovative basic, translational and clinical research in neuroscience. Their remit is continuously expanding and they are often required to collect tissue other than brain (such as gut, skeletal muscle) and blood samples. The progress in handling and storing electronic patient data has also enabled the brain bank to collate detailed information on clinical history and past drug treatment of donors and create complex datasets that can be accessible to researchers, making the collections an even more valuable resource.