Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
The lack of animal models for many of the neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders and the fact that animal models cannot substitute for human tissue led to the establishment of Brain Banks that collect, preserve and provide fresh human tissue for researchers. One such Bank has been set up at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences funded by Dept. of Biotechnology, Dept. of Science and Technology and ICMR. Brains and tissue fluids (serum and CSF) are collected at autopsy following informed consent from close relatives. One half of the fresh brain from neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders are frozen at -70' C while the other half and brains from infective conditions are formalin fixed which can be used for pathomorphological studies. Only fresh frozen tissues that are tested and found negative for HIV and HbsAg are provided for research. The neural tissues as well as tissue fluids that are being supplied by the Brain Bank have supported a number of research projects in diverse fields of neurosciences. Many significant discoveries that have contributed towards understanding pathogenesis of disease, their genetic basis, and evolving prognostic and diagnostic markers for neurologic disease in the CSF have been made possible by the existence of such a facility. The continued functioning of such a facility requires the close co-operation of the clinical neuroscientists, pathologists and the other neuroscientists. Increased awareness and commitment amongst the scientific fraternity is necessary to keep alive the demand and ensure uninterrupted supply of fresh tissue for research. This will help usher in the era of molecular neurobiology with the fond hope that many more of the relentlessly progressive neurodegenerative disorders will eventually find a cause and cure.