The Netherlands Brain Bank (NBB)
The MS Brain Bank is part of the Netherlands Brain Bank (NBB). The NBB was founded in 1985 by Dick Swaab and is a department of the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience (NIN) in Amsterdam, one of the institutes of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. The mission of the NBB is to facilitate cutting edge human brain research by providing the scientific community with the highest quality post mortem tissue with ultra-short post mortem delays (on average 6 h, with max. 12 h) of patients and matched controls in combination with clinico-neuropathological documentation. The NBB adheres to strict ethical guidelines, such as informed consent, open access and a non-profit policy, as stated in Brain Net Europe’s Ethical Code of Conduct for brain banking. The NBB has a prospective brain donor program for neurological and psychiatric diseases and healthy controls and performs brain autopsies in collaboration with the department of Pathology of Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc. Since its start, the NBB performed 4,446 autopsies and has 4,902 brain donors registered per 01-01-2019. Tissue has been provided to over 800 projects worldwide resulting in over 1,700 scientific publications.
MS Brain Bank
Since 1990, the NBB specifically focused on the registration of MS patients and their family members. In 2000, in close collaboration with the department of Radiology at Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc, the NBB started a post mortem MRI program for MS autopsies, resulting in MRI-guided dissection of MS lesions and facilitation of translational studies to relate tissue findings to MRI parameters at Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc (read more about this here). Since the start of the MS brain donation program, 309 MS patients came to autopsy and currently more than 600 MS patients are registered as brain donors with on average 14 MS autopsies annually over 2014–2018. In 2017 a dedicated branch of NBB focused on MS, NBB-MS, was launched. NBB-MS is a cooperation between the NBB and the Neuroimmunology research group of the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience. An NBB-MS Centre coordinator was appointed and an MS researcher to characterize all MS lesions of upcoming MS autopsies and to guide MS tissue dissemination by advising tissue applicants on selecting tissue and donors. Between 2014 and 2017, NBB-MS disseminated MS tissue to 73 research projects, 42 in the Netherlands and 32 abroad, resulting in 63 scientific publications. In addition to dissemination of tissue blocks, NBB-MS facilitates collaborations on the MS cohort as a whole together with the other MS Centers in the Netherlands, joint in MS-Neth, to unravel the molecular basis of clinical, pathological, radiological and genetic heterogeneity of MS.
The NBB-MS is one of four MS-Centers in the Netherlands, where excellent MS-research is performed. To do so, these MS-Centers receive financial support from Stichting MS Research (MS Research Foundation, website). NBB-MS has received €530.000 for a period of four years. In addition a NBB-MS Center Coordinator wat appointed for specific assistance in the MS donor recruitment activities (e.g., lectures, design NBB-MS banner and PR material) and coordination between the NBB, de Neuroimmunology research group of the NIN and the Stichting MS Research, with the help of €12.500 from Stichting MS Research.