Biorepository Laboratory

In addition to conducting personalized brain tumor typing studies to help guide treatment decisions, every tumor we remove is preserved in our brain tumor bank. Also known as tissue banks, these facilities store collected samples for further research. The Henry Ford tumor bank is one of the three largest in the world, containing nearly 5,000 tissue samples.The Hermelin Brain Tumor Center has been a major contributor to The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) since 2006. TCGA is a national cooperative of academic medical centers sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The group was formed to analyze tissue samples and chart genomic changes in 20 different types of cancer. We have contributed 40 percent of the 500 glioblastoma tissues collected for analysis by the NIH.

In addition to TCGA, we use our tumor bank samples for brain tumor research conducted at our center including:

  • Acquiring molecular data from glioblastoma and other aggressive brain tumors.
  • A large-scale analysis of our tumor bank specimens is underway. This study seeks to determine which genetic factors in tumor cells may or may not be responsible for the differences in outcomes. Some people achieve long-term survival while others do not fare as well – even with the same pathologies, demographics and tumor features.

Our brain tumor typing research is documented in published studies that show how genetic analysis could improve treatment outcomes and quality of life.

Day-to-Day Operations

After picking up tissue from the neurosurgery operating rooms, multiple procedures are employed in order to perform techniques involving all branches of the neurosurgery research team such as:

  • Starting neurosphere cell culture.
  • Freezing tissue and storage for DNA/RNA analysis.
  • In Vitro and In Vivo research on glioma cell lines developed within the HBTC laboratory.
  • Collaborations with research laboratories here and abroad.
  • Collection, processing and freezing of patient blood serum from the Operating Room began in 2011. These processes have led to the development of the current DNA research and publications from Dr. Noushmehr’s laboratory.
  • Liquid Biopsy protocol and blood collection procedures established for serial blood collections from patients.

For Research Collaborations

The following survey collects information about the resources that you would like to request from the Hermelin Brain Tumor Center. This initial information will be reviewed by our committee to determine whether the resources you need are available and appropriate next steps. Take the survey.

Kevin K. Nelson, M.S.

Manager, Hermelin Tumor Bank

Henry Ford Hospital
Neurosurgery Department
2799 W. Grand Blvd.
E & R Building, Room 3125
Detroit, MI 48202
Phone: (313) 916-8690

Laura Hasselbach and Bart Thomas – Tumor Bank


I have 40 years of experience in the cancer research field, with 30 of those years focused specifically on tumors of the brain. I’ve also been involved with the development of In Vitro and In Vivo protocols for use in pre-clinical trials and research as well as the growth and testing of human xenografts in murine model systems.

Additional tasks are isolating neural stem cells from glioma tissue, maintaining and storage of neurosphere cell lines, as well as the collection of blood and tissue samples from the operating room for Clinical Trials and research analysis.


  • Manager of the Neurosurgery Tumor Bank
  • Murine and Human In Vitro protocols
  • In Vitro techniques with glioma, carcinoma and melanoma cell lines
  • Murine In Vivo protocols
  • Cryo-preservation and archival storage, retrieval and recording procedures

Cookie Consent

We use cookies to improve your website experience. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use. Read our Internet Privacy Statement  to learn what information we collect and how we use it.

Accept all