Lung Tissue Research Consortium (LTRC)

Project began
2005
Point of contact

What is 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 is to increase our understanding of lung diseases by studying lung tissue samples from people who do or do not have lung diseases. The LTRC is an NHLBI-funded resource program that provides 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.

AT A GLANCE
  • Since 2005, the LTRC has been collecting, storing, and distributing samples and data from patients with lung disease.
  • The LTRC has samples and data from more than 4,200 participants.
  • The LTRC provides tissues and data to approved investigators free of charge.
  • LTRC resources have been used in numerous research projects, leading to the publication of more than 60 scientific articles.

How does the LTRC contribute to scientific discoveries?

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

How does the LTRC work?

The LTRC enrolls donor subjects who are planning lung surgery, collects blood and clinical data from them, and then processes and stores the donated tissue that would otherwise be discarded after the lung surgery. Most donor subjects have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or interstitial fibrotic lung disease, which includes idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. The LTRC uses a standardized protocol to ensure high quality and uniformity when it collects its biospecimens and data.

The LTRC consists of the following:

  • four clinical centers, which recruit and enroll participants and collect biospecimens and data.
  • a tissue core laboratory, which collects and assesses the biospecimens sent from the clinical centers.
  • a radiology core laboratory, which collects and assesses computed tomography (CT) scans sent from the clinical centers.
  • a data coordinating center, which coordinates the collection of biospecimens and data and serves as the primary point of contact for LTRC users.

How can investigators use LTRC resources?

Investigators can request specimens and data online through the LTRC website. The website includes the LTRC Query Tool, a utility that allows investigators to quickly search for and identify appropriate LTRC cases to support their research projects. The NHLBI encourages investigators who are applying for NHLBI funding to use LTRC resources in their research.

Using lung tissue specimens from the LRTC, 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.