Donor Resources 

Medical science cannot advance without the generous support of specimen donors. The OHSU Knight BioLibrary is committed to protecting donor rights according to the highest ethical standards.

OHSU patients have the opportunity to allow their excess tissue samples (biospecimens) to be saved for medical research. These samples can be used by researchers to develop new and better medical treatments for people. The information below describes the ways that donated tissues are collected and used at OHSU.

What Are Tissue Samples?

Tissue samples can include materials from your body such as skin, blood and other bodily fluids. Tissue samples can come from common medical procedures like blood tests and biopsies. Often parts of your samples remain after the medical tests are performed. These samples are usually destroyed, but under the "Research Notice" these samples can be stored for future use by researchers. You can also give permission for additional samples to be taken for research, for example an extra vial of blood during your routine blood draw, by enrolling in the OHSU BioLibrary Research Repository.

Why Is Tissue So Important For Research?

When authorized by patients, OHSU collects, stores and shares tissue and associated health information for use in research projects. If you would like to learn about research projects in progress at OHSU you can read more at the Cancer Research or OHSU Research pages.

Researchers need both healthy and diseased tissue, which help them:

  • Find new ways to treat or prevent diseases such as cancer, diabetes or Alzheimer's
  • Develop new drugs and other products
  • Learn more about how the human body works

How Is My Privacy Protected?

The health-related information that is gathered about you for research is confidential. OHSU is required by law to protect the privacy of this information and takes careful steps to safeguard all records. Some Researchers may require patient-related health data due to the nature of their investigation. This information is handled in compliance with the same laws that govern your health care providers, which requires your privacy remain protected.

What If I Decide Not To Donate My Tissue, or Change My Mind?

OHSU understands that donating your tissue is a personal choice. If you don't want OHSU to save and use your tissue for research, just complete the linked Research Notice, and return it to your provider at OHSU.

If you decide in the future that you would no longer like your tissue to be kept for research, you may complete the Research Notice and return it to your provider at OHSU. We will destroy your donated tissue and any data associated with it.

You can also limit the use of your donated tissue by contacting OHSU to ask that your personal information be removed, and allow your tissue to be used for anonymous research only.

If you had previously declined to participate, and want to change your status and agree to donate tissue at any point you can contact the OHSU Research Integrity Office at 503 494-7887 and ask them to change your status.

What Other Ways Can I Support Research?

Consider giving a gift to one of OHSU's research initiatives, such as the Knight Cancer Institute’s Early Detection Program. Biomedical research requires highly trained specialists and cutting edge technology to be successful. With limited grant funding leaving many projects underfunded, philanthropic donations are immensely important to advancing medicine. You can learn more about giving opportunities at the OHSU Foundation page.

Have experience in the lab or clinic? The Knight BioLibrary regularly hosts student volunteers interested in laboratory or clinical work. Email to learn more.


For questions about research conduct at OHSU please call the OHSU Research Integrity Office at 503 494-7887 or visit their website.

Helpful Links

National Cancer Institute

Health Information Privacy

OHSU Research Notice

Tissue Donation Brochure

The Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University is a pioneer in the field of precision cancer medicine. The institute's director, Brian Druker, M.D., helped prove it was possible to shut down just the cells that enable cancer to grow. This breakthrough has made once-fatal forms of the disease manageable and transformed how cancer is treated. The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center between Sacramento and Seattle – an honor earned only by the nation's top cancer centers. It is headquarters for one of the National Cancer Institute's largest research collaboratives, SWOG, in addition to offering the latest treatments and technologies as well as hundreds of research studies and clinical trials.

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