Sample Acquisition FAQ

You can search our database to determine whether we have the samples you need. The search will return the numbers of available samples and available annotations.

If your question about sample availability cannot be answered using our database search, for example, if a variable of interest is not included in the default list, please email your query to Jill Henry at

To request samples, you will need to download our Tissue Request Proposal Form and submit it according to the guidelines detailed on the Search & Request Samples page.

Download the Request Form

Yes. After the proposal is approved, the researcher must sign a Material Transfer Agreement, requiring that all data is to be returned to the Komen Tissue Bank as soon as research has been published and intellectual property secured.

Data must be returned to the KTB even if the study results are negative; i.e., the hypothesis being tested is shown not to be correct.

Yes. Please contact our COO Jill Henry at with the following information:

  • Your name, your institution, and your full contact information
  • Date the letter is needed
  • Title of the grant
  • Number and type(s) of samples requested

Please note: A letter of confirmation of sample availability does not guarantee that the samples will be provided. You must still complete a Tissue Request Proposal Form and this proposal must be approved by the Tissue Request Committee.

Please use the following wording in the acknowledgements section of your manuscript:

Samples from the Susan G. Komen Tissue Bank at the IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center were used in this study. We thank contributors, including Indiana University, who collected samples used in this study, as well as donors and their families whose help and participation made this work possible.

Tissue donors complete a 6-8 page questionnaire about their health and medical history, covering the following information:

  • Basic demographic data
  • Breast cancer risk factors
  • Reproductive history
  • Use of hormones and other medication
  • Medical history
  • Early life history
  • Family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer
  • Whether or not the donor is a breast cancer survivor

All of this information is stored in our searchable Virtual Tissue Bank database.

Visit the Virtual Tissue Bank

Researcher Spotlights: Biancastella Cereser, PhD

Imperial College, London

Dr. Cereser’s group looks at how the mutation burden of the normal breast changes during age and during pregnancy, and determines if there are any mutations in the cancer genes already present in the normal breast.

Q&A with KTB

There is a minimal cost recovery fee assessed. Please view our cost recovery schedule to find a fee chart.

Cost Recovery Fees

Submit your proposal at any time during the year. The proposal review process takes approximately three months.

Once your proposal has been approved and the Material Transfer Agreement is signed, the KTB staff will work with you to identify the cohort of samples you need, and they will be sent to you, usually within 4-6 weeks after the MTA is signed.

This answer is dependent upon a variety of factors including availability of the cohort, special processing needs, number of samples needed, etc. Please contact Jill Henry at if you would like to initiate a request for prospective samples.

The KTB does not accept the return of any samples. All specimens not consumed by your research are to be destroyed and a Sample Status Form must be completed.

Download the Sample Status Form

One of the founding principles of the Komen Tissue Bank is to share data in order to facilitate the progress of breast cancer research. Our Virtual Tissue Bank is open to cancer researchers around the world.

Virtual Tissue Bank: KTB data available for download

Be sure to check our free online database.You will find data generated by researchers using KTB samples, donor mammograms and medical histories and H&E images.

Visit the KTB Virtual Tissue Bank

I’m here today in honor and memory of my mom - my personal hero. She fought an incredibly brave fight from 1972-1977. It is so gratifying to see all of the volunteers, donors, and brave warriors who are battling this terrible disease. Thanks so much!

Beth — Tissue Donor

About the Susan G. Komen Tissue Bank

The Komen Tissue Bank is the only repository in the world for normal breast tissue and matched serum, plasma, and DNA. We are transforming breast cancer research by offering normal, high-quality, richly annotated tissue samples to scientists worldwide.

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