Lung Tissue Research Consortium (LTRC)

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What was the goal of the LTRC?

The NHLBI funds biospecimen repositories, such as the LTRC, to provide access to important resources that can fuel cutting-edge research.

The goal of the LTRC was to increase our understanding of lung diseases by studying lung tissue samples from people who do or do not have lung diseases. The LTRC was an NHLBI-funded resource program that provided donated human lung tissue samples, blood samples, and clinical data to approved investigators free of charge for use in research. This research can lead to better ways of preventing and managing lung diseases.


  • From 2005 to 2019, the LTRC collected, stored, and distributed samples and data from patients with lung disease.
  • The LTRC had samples and data from more than 4,200 participants.
  • The LTRC provided tissues and data to approved investigators free of charge. LTRC tissues and data are available to researchers through NHLBI’s BIOLINCC program
  • LTRC resources have been used in numerous research projects, leading to the publication of more than 60 scientific articles.

How did the LTRC contribute to scientific discoveries?

Investigators need access to appropriate biospecimens to study the mechanisms of lung diseases at the cellular and molecular levels. However, considerable expense and effort are required to recruit donors and collect and process lung tissues for research. By performing these tasks, the LTRC provided a valuable resource to catalyze research that would otherwise be impossible.

How did the LTRC work?

The LTRC enrolled donor subjects who were planning lung surgery, collected blood and clinical data from them, and then processed and stored the donated tissue that would otherwise be discarded after the lung surgery. Most of the donor subjects had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or interstitial fibrotic lung disease, which includes idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. The LTRC used a standardized protocol to ensure high quality and uniformity when it collected its biospecimens and data.

The LTRC consisted of the following:

  • Four clinical centers, which recruited and enrolled participants and collected biospecimens and data.
  • A tissue core laboratory, which collected and assessed the biospecimens sent from the clinical centers.
  • A radiology core laboratory, which collected and assessed computed tomography (CT) scans sent from the clinical centers.
  • A data coordinating center, which coordinated the collection of biospecimens and data and served as the primary point of contact for LTRC users.

How can investigators use LTRC resources?

Investigators can request specimens and data online through the BIOLINCC Repository. The NHLBI encourages investigators who are applying for NHLBI funding to use LTRC resources in their research.

Using lung tissue specimens from the LTRC, investigators can apply new technologies to characterize cellular and molecular abnormalities and how they relate to the presence, severity, and outcome of lung diseases. This research can lead to a better understanding of disease development and new ways to treat and prevent lung diseases.