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Human tissue


The use of human tissue for research purposes is governed by the Human Tissue Act 2004 and any subsequent amendments. This legislation regulates the removal, storage and use of human tissue defined as 'relevant material' that has come from a human body and consists of, or includes, human cells. The Human Tissue Authority (HTA) is the regulatory body which licences establishments storing and using relevant material for 'scheduled purposes' such as research or anatomical examination. The HTA has issued Codes of Practice which detail the standards expected from licenced establishments.

Genomics 800
Standard Operating Procedures
Human Tissue Standard Operating Procedures

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), associated forms and guidelines for research involving human tissue.

Human tissue standard operating procedures


The University holds two research licences and one anatomy licence. The licences cover the following areas:

MBC/BCH Research Licence 12044 (DI Dr Jackie James)

Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology
Welcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine
School of Pharmacy
David Keir Building
School of Biological Sciences

RVH Research Licence 12059 (DI Dr Gareth McKay)

Centre for Public Health

Anatomy Licence 12113 (DI Ms Samantha Taylor)

Anatomy licenced area, Centre for Biomedical Sciences Education
An overview of the licencing structure is available here.

Information for the anatomy licenced area and body bequests can be found here.

Relevant Material

Relevant material is material that has come from a human body and consists of, or includes, human cells. Examples include:

  • Blood
  • Urine
  • Faeces
  • Tissue Samples
  • Saliva
  • Sputum
  • Skin
  • Bone

The definition of relevant material and a supplementary list of materials can be found on the Human Tissue Authority’s website. Nails and hair from the living are not considered as relevant material and gametes are also excluded. Where relevant material is processed, treated or lysed, and as a result of the process or treatment is rendered acellular, then the material may be regarded as such. This includes cells divided and created outside the human body or the freezing and thawing of cells only where that process is intended to render the material acellular.

Quality Manual

In order to ensure compliance with licensing requirements the University has developed regulations, policies and SOPs. An overview of these and the management of Human Tissue Act related activities are provided in this Quality Manual.

Regulations and Policies

The University has established regulations and policies to govern research and maintain the integrity of research carried out under its auspices. The University’s Human Tissue Act-related regulations and policies are:


Training follows a hybrid model and we offer training via MS Teams or in person. Please see the following schedule of sessions, which also contains details of how to register for them:

Human Tissue Act Training Schedule - Academic year 2022 - 2023

Human Tissue Act Training Schedule - Academic year 2023 - 2024

If you are unsure of any element of the training, or if you have any further HTA related queries, please get in touch with