July 17, 1987

How Does Tissue Banking Work? Virginia Bank, While Not Typical, May Offer Some Insights

JAMA. 1987;258(3):304-305. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400030020005

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VIRGINIA TISSUE BANK (VTB) is probably the largest freestanding tissue bank in the United States. It was also one of the first banks in this country to be accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks.

For those reasons, it is not typical of US tissue banks. The vast majority of tissue banks are small. They bank only one or a few types of tissue, are based in a local hospital, and are intended to serve only the needs of the individual surgeons who establish them.

Most of the larger banks are based at a university or major medical center that has one or more transplant programs to create a demand for tissue. Only three tissue banks have been accredited to date. (Please see accompanying article.)

Still, the Virginia Tissue Bank, located in Virginia Beach, provides a window on how tissue banking operates.

The bank is a nonprofit foundation, set