About Tissue Core

The UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center Tissue Core provides the following services:

  • Collection and storage of human tissue from two hospital sites (UCSF/Moffitt, UCSF/Mt. Zion)
  • Distribution of fresh, frozen, and paraffin-embedded tissue to approved investigators
  • Tissue processing, including embedding and cell button preparation, or white blood cell extraction from whole blood
  • Sectioning of frozen and paraffin-embedded tissues
  • Routine staining, including H&E and Wright-Giemsa
  • Tissue microarray preparation

Types of samples vary by organ site. Potential users are referred to the Lab Director of the organ-specific bank of interest (see website). If appropriate tissue is not available in Cancer Center banks, the Core will attempt to coordinate the procurement of tissue from off-site sources when possible.

The Core provides oversight and coordination among Cancer Center banks with regard to the latest tissue-banking technologies and guidelines. All services are available to all researchers, with priority given to Cancer Center members, followed by other UCSF investigators.


Tissue Request
To request tissue, complete a Tissue Request Form and email it to Hubert Stoppler. He will review the request for clarity, then pass it on to the appropriate organ-specific bank for review by its Tissue Utilization Committee. The Committee will review the application for feasibility and priority.

Private companies that request large amounts of tissue are strongly urged to establish a collaboration with Cancer Center members and should be agreeable to contracting with the University regarding the collaboration and any shared intellectual property.

Special Tissue Requests
If the investigator requires tissue that is not listed on the website, the Tissue Core will try to accrue it through UCSF hospitals , or by coordinating with various outside tissue banks, such as the Cooperative Human Tissue Network. Contact Hubert Stoppler (e-mail; stopplerh@cc.ucsf.edu, phone: 415-476-0435, UCSF Box 0875), for these special requests.

Tissue Processing
The Tissue Core can assist the investigator in processing fresh tissue. The Core fixes and embeds tissue in paraffin, and prepares cell buttons from cell lines or other cell suspensions. The Core can assist the investigator in obtaining common cell lines. For cell buttons, minimally one T150 flask of 80% confluent cells is required. WBC isolation and DNA extraction from whole blood is also performed. The investigator should fill out a Tissue Core Work Order Form that should accompany the tissue. Both should be brought to 2340 Sutter Street, Room S-2311 between 9:00 am and 5 pm Monday-Friday. Tissue that needs to be processed the same day must be left by 2:00 pm.

Tissue Sectioning
A Work Order Form marked for tissue sectioning must accompany paraffin-embedded or frozen blocks for sectioning. If frozen sections cannot be stored after being cut, arrangements need to be made with the technician to coordinate a time for sectioning. Tissues for cutting should be brought to the Tissue Core facility between 9:00 am and 5 pm Monday-Friday.

Requests for routine staining should be indicated on the Work Order Form. Slides for staining should be brought to the Core facility between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm Monday-Friday.

Tissue Microarrays
A tissue microarray is a paraffin block comprising tissues from several hundred different cases. Sections from these microarrays are available for some tissue types. New microarrays can be customized to meet the needs of the investigator. Contact Hubert Stoppler for additional information.

Equipment and Training
Tissue Core equipment includes a cryostat, microtomes, tissue processor, tissue embedding station, and microtissue arrayer. Use of the equipment is subject to availability, and work performed after hours is strongly discouraged due to safety considerations. Individuals who wish to use Core equipment must be trained and approved by the manager, Hubert Stoppler. Please contact the Core to schedule a training session.

Each organ site has its own Tissue Utilization Committee, which generally meets ad hoc. Investigators should be contacted regarding their tissue request within three weeks. Please indicate on the work order forms the date histology services are needed. You will be contacted if the Core is unable to meet your request due to other priorities.

Additional Resources
A searchable database of core facilities at all UCSF campus locations, provided by the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at UCSF, is available here.