Iran Establishes Brain Tissue Bank

Iran Establishes Brain Tissue BankIran Establishes Brain Tissue Bank

Iran has set up the country’s first brain tissue bank that will help in undertaking research and study the causes of neurological diseases such as MS and Alzheimer’s, joining the ranks of the US, Germany and other European countries.

“The Tehran-based bank has been established at Iran University of Medical Sciences in collaboration with the Health Ministry Research Center,” said Mohammad Taqi Joghataei, managing director of the bank, Mehr News Agency reported.

Establishing the brain bank was long overdue. Other countries established such banks more than 20 years ago, he noted.

Iranian researchers can now conduct studies on neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Parkinson, multiple sclerosis (MS), motor disorders and diseases related to the central nervous system.

Joghataei, who is also the secretary of the neurology committee at the Iranian Council for Stem Cell Sciences and Technology, said until now Iranian researchers conducted genetic and cellular studies on animals, but that presented several limitations, therefore studying the human brain should yield more effective results.

“Over the past months since the bank was initiated, three brains have already been added, each with an information card that has all clinical and pathological data such as the type of disease, the patient’s medical history, age etc.”

Scientists from the nation’s research and medical centers can make use of the bank for their investigations. Since the majority of such studies can be carried out on a very small amount of tissue, each donated brain provides a large number of samples for many researchers.

Joghataei maintained that the brain bank has been created based on the “Network of Excellence” of similar European banks, adding that “there are two sources the brain bank can use; one is the brains of those who died of neurological disease and the other is using those parts of the brain removed during surgery.”

Noting that the donations of all or parts of patients’ brains to the brain bank will be done with the consent of their families, he said, “After the death of patients with neurological diseases, the brain must be removed within six hours and given to the bank. Then, the brain must be preserved under temperature of minus 80 degrees and in special conditions for researchers to study.”

So far, countries including Britain, France, Qatar, Kuwait, Japan, US, Sweden, Spain, Greece, Finland and Canada have national brain banks.