Washington State University College of Pharmacy

United States Transuranium & Uranium Registries

National Human Radiobiological Tissue Repository

Resources for Radiation Dosimetry and Biological Effects

The NHRTR archives thousands of solutions containing acid dissolved tissues from each USTUR case. These solutions are available to qualified scientists for further research.

The National Human Radiobiological Tissue Repository

The NHRTR houses several collections of tissues from individuals with medical or occupational intakes of radium, and workers with documented intakes of plutonium, americium, uranium, and thorium. Samples include frozen tissues, tissue solutions, microscope slides, and paraffin blocks.

The NHRTR is a Great Resource

The samples in the NHRTR are available to qualified scientists who are interested in conducting studies of localized tissue doses, studies of micro-distribution of the actinide elements, or studies of radiation induced molecular changes.

The NHRTR Collection is Unique and Well Documented

Samples Containing Radium
Left: Cans containing radium dial painter bone ash. Right: Cross-section of a radium dial painter bone.

The NHRTR houses thousands of frozen, ashed, dried, and plastic embedded bone samples from the radium studies carried out by Argonne National Laboratory/Argonne Cancer Research Hospital, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the New Jersey Radium Research Project.  Bone samples (and numerous soft tissue samples) are marked with a unique identifying number.  These case numbers can be used to retrieve de-identified case data from publications such as Argonne National Laboratory-Argonne Cancer Research Hospital’s The Argonne Radium Studies: Summary of Fundamental Data ANL-7531 and ACRH-106 (view excerpt or full text). These data include the person’s source of exposure (dial painter, therapeutic injection, etc.), estimated body burden, radiochemical results, and medical history.

Learn more about historical radium studies »

Samples Containing Plutonium, Americium, and Uranium

The USTUR acquires post-mortem samples of body organs from volunteer donors who worked with actinide elements and who had a documented intake of one or more of these radionuclides. A portion of the tissues received by the USTUR is radiochemically analyzed to determine the concentrations of actinide elements in various organs. The remaining portion is retained in a frozen state for future studies. Table 1 and Table 2 list the number of frozen and fixed tissue samples from USTUR donations.

Samples Containing Thorium

The USTUR has received and analyzed tissues from two whole-body donors, who had been injected with Thorotrast during medical procedures. Approximately one-half of each body was analyzed and the other half was preserved in a frozen state in the NHRTR.

Information About the NHRTR Samples

USTUR director, Tony James, conducts tour of the NHRTR laboratory 2005-10 USTUR director, Tony James, conducts a tour of the NHRTR facility for the 2007 NCRP Scientific Committee 6-3: Shown at left – Dick Toohey (ORAU); Dunstana Melo (NCI/NIH guest observer); right – Tom Bell (NCRP Staff Consultant).

The USTUR database contains an inventory of NHRTR samples containing plutonium, uranium, and americium. Information about thorotrast-injected donors includes amount injected, age at injection, autopsy reports, and radiochemical analytical results. The radiation doses to the radium dial painters before death and autopsy were determined by whole body counting and radon exhalation measurements. Detailed information about each measured dial painter is available through publications that contain tables with estimated skeletal radiation doses, exposure time periods, ages at exposure (and death), and much other pertinent information. This information can be supplied as well as frozen tissue samples.

Availability of NHRTR Samples

To qualify for receipt of NHRTR samples, researchers must:

USTUR authorship on published reports is not a condition of collaboration; however, acknowledgement of the source of the materials would be appropriate.

Origins of NHRTR Samples - USTUR Operations

Freezers Image The NHRTR contains frozen tissues, tissue solutions, microscope slides, and paraffin blocks that were collected by the USTUR at autopsy.

Workers with a documented history of intakes of radioactive materials are suitable candidates for participation in the USTUR program. Registrants are volunteers who authorize the Registries to collect tissue samples after death and to obtain their individual medical and radiation exposure records for research purposes. USTUR autopsies are performed by independent pathologists near the site of a Registrant death. Volunteer donors pre-plan the donation by granting the USTUR full consent to collect tissues after death. In some cases, the whole body may be donated to the USTUR. The consent can be withdrawn at any time by the donor and, after death, by the donorís family. The donation program is similar to organ donations for medical purposes, designated on a drivers license. The research is federally funded through a grant from the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) to Washington State University (WSU). The Registries are administratively part of the WSU College of Pharmacy, and are located in Richland, WA.

How to Contact the NHRTR

Dr. Sergei Y. Tolmachev

National Human Radiobiology Tissue Repository
United States Transuranium and Uranium Registries
Washington State University
1845 Terminal Dr. Suite 201
Richland, WA 99354-4959
Tel. 509-946-6870 x1
Tel. 800-375-9317 (Toll Free)
Fax. 509-946-7972
E-mail: stolmachev@wsu.edu

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This page was last updated on March 7, 2014. usturwebmaster@tricity.wsu.edu

USTUR, Washington State University, 1845 Terminal Dr. Suite 201, Richland, WA 99354-4959 USA, 1-509-946-6870 or 1-800-375-9317