Libraries of Flesh: The sorry state of human tissue storage


A must-read feature from Steve Silberman in this month's Wired:

State-of-the-art medical care and research are increasingly dependent on the storage of human cells and tissue in cryogenic facilities called biobanks. Located in universities, hospitals, and private institutions all over the world, these archives of the human organism are the biological back end of data-driven medicine.

Unfortunately, while the sciences that depend on biobanks have advanced by leaps and bounds in recent years (including genetic research, molecular drug design, and genomic medicine), the technology of biobanking itself is still stuck in the 1950s, resulting in a tragic shortage of human tissue for research.

Now the National Cancer Institute is leading a campaign to reform this crucial industry and launch a national tissue bank called caHUB to support cancer research.

Libraries of Flesh: video, images, and text. (Photo: Andrew Tingle)