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NDRI Has Been Awarded $3.59 Million From the National Institutes of Health, 'The Directors Common Fund' to Provide Human Tissue for 'GTEx,' the New Genotype-Tissue Expression Project

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- NDRI, The National Disease Research Interchange, a Philadelphia-based national human tissue center celebrating its 30th year, today announced it has been awarded a $3.59 million subcontract from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the new cutting-edge project "GTEx" (Genotype-Tissue Expression). The funds for the 30-month project are provided by the NIH Common Fund and awarded through NCI (the National Cancer Institute), NIMH (the National Institute of Mental Health) and NHGRI (the National Human Genome Research Institute). The goal of this "Pilot Project" is to test systems that will enable scientific investigation of the relationship between genetic variation and regulation of gene expression on a tissue-specific basis.

"GTEx will begin to provide researchers with a comprehensive view of genetic variation and a more precise understanding of how it affects genes critical to the normal function of tissue and organs," said NIH Director, Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD. "This resource will add a new dimension to our understanding of human biology and the mechanisms that lead to disease."

This subcontract has been awarded to NDRI to utilize its established systems and partners to collect multiple human tissues from a large number of consented normal donors, which will then be characterized for genetic variability and genotyping. For the GTEx pilot, NDRI will partner with the Philadelphia-based "Gift of Life Donor Program" under the supervision of Rick Hasz, Vice President of Clinical Services, Drexel University College of Medicine, Fernando U. Garcia, M.D., Regional Director of Anatomic Pathology and in Virginia, LifeNet Health, Gary Walters, Senior Director of Tissue Recovery and Kidney Perfusion. In addition, for the GTEx project, NDRI will partner with Laura Siminoff, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Health at Virginia Commonwealth University for a Study of Associated Ethical Legal and Social Issues, which will provide an assessment of participant feedback on the consent process for the project.

The GTEx project is a 2.5-year pilot with the primary goal of testing the feasibility of collecting high-quality RNA and DNA from 30-50 tissues recovered from each of approximately 160 consented normal donors identified through low post-mortem interval autopsy or organ transplant settings. A small subset of tissues will be collected from a targeted population of 160 consented normal surgical patients to compare to post-mortem derived tissues. One of the goals of the pilot project is to test all systems that identify consented donors and the feasibility of timely recovery of a large number of biospecimens from each of many donors. The future plan is to expand the GTEx project to involve some 1000 donors.

"This is an amazing opportunity for NDRI and for the scientific community," stated Lee Ducat, founder and president of NDRI.  "This year is NDRI's 30th anniversary year providing quality donated human tissues to research studies nationally and internationally. We are tremendously proud to be a part of this important National Institutes of Health initiative." Ducat added that NDRI is in the "start-up" phase of the GTEx program and is prepared to move full speed ahead on this new and exciting GTEx initiative.  "We view this cutting-edge program as a major challenge in terms of consent issues, the number of donors required, the number of specimens requested from each donor and quality control issues," said Ducat.  "At the same time, we are confident in our NDRI staff expertise to administer the program and in our 'partners' ability to complete all tasks required."

Since 1980, NDRI has served a vital need providing some 5,000 scientists with more than 300,000 human biomaterials, leading to more than 2,600 papers published in scholarly journals on diseases from diabetes to cancer to HIV and rare diseases.  Today, NDRI is the leading national organization that connects donated human tissue with the research scientists who need it to develop new therapies and cures for human disease.  NDRI serves just about every disease.  

About NDRI

NDRI is celebrating its 30th Anniversary year having created the original systems to bring donated human tissue to the scientific community in a continuous way. The nonprofit NDRI (National Disease Research Interchange) was established in 1980 and designed the systems to provide scientists with the human tissue necessary to study human systems and human disease.  In the past 30 years, NDRI has served some 5,000 scientists with more than 300,000 human biomaterials, leading to more than 2,600 papers published in scholarly journals on diseases from diabetes to cancer to HIV and rare diseases.  

Funded in part by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), NDRI provides biomaterials to more than 200 of the nation's most prominent academic-based research centers including the Harvard Medical School, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, Stanford University, Thomas Jefferson University, and University of Pennsylvania, Wistar, among others.  NDRI also provides tissues to government agencies and grantees including the NIH, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and to some of the nation's top pharma, biotech and R&D programs. NDRI has been funded by the National Institutes of Health for 23 consecutive years.

NDRI is a not-for-profit (501c3) corporation. Funding support provided by NIH includes core funding from NCRR, the National Center for Research Resources, with additional funding from NEI, the National Eye Institute, NIDDK, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, NIAID, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIAMS, the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, NHLBI, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, and ORDR, the Office of Rare Diseases Research. The new GTEx subcontract adds NIH funding from the NIH Common Fund. Additional support is provided by some 30 voluntary health organizations and from corporate and individual donors.

For more information about NDRI, please visit

SOURCE NDRI, The National Disease Research Interchange
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