About Donating Tumor Tissue

Researchers rely on fresh tumor tissue to make discoveries related to the causes and behavior of pediatric brain tumors, and to explore potential new treatments. From donated tumor tissue, genetic sequencing can be performed and the biological data collected can be analyzed and interpreted through bioinformatics. The more genetic data that is available, especially pertaining to rare tumor types, the more information researchers have to better understand the origin of these tumors, the behavior of these tumors, and the therapeutic modalities that may be most promising against these tumors.

From donated tissue, researchers can also isolate and grow cell lines for studying in the lab. Cell lines are cultures that can be propagated repeatedly and sometimes indefinitely. In other words, genetically identical tumors can be continuously replicated from one cell in order to study the disease from multiple vantage points.

To fuel research, we need fresh tumor samples from many pediatric brain tumor types that differ in location, histology, genetic markers, and treatment histories. The more tissue samples we can study, the better our chance of finding answers for the questions holding back discoveries with regard to rare pediatric brain tumors.

Not only does the procurement of tumor tissue enable science, but it also may contribute to designing patient-specific therapies according to the findings in the lab (see precision medicine).

If you wish to explore tumor tissue donation, it is important to do so in advance of an upcoming surgery. It’s free, easy, confidential, and has no effect on your clinical care. Contact our pediatric neurosurgery team for a consultation.

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Tailoring the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of a patient based on the molecular characteristics of that patient’s disease is known as precision medicine.


Weill Cornell Medicine is an active participant in the Children’s Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium (CBTTC), an elite group dedicated to collaborating on research specific to pediatric brain tumors.


The diagnosis of an incurable brain tumor is an inconceivable challenge that no child or family should have to face. The Gift from a Child initiative allows families the opportunity to donate tumor tissue to science to advance cures for children in the future.

“I imagine her cell lines in a laboratory somewhere living on and working and fighting even though she’s not here to do that herself.”

Katherine Godfrey, Fiona's Mom