Snap Frozen Human Tissue Blocks

Biosample Hub frequently receives requests for solid tissue, often as frozen tissue blocks. For the purpose of quality control on these blocks, you need to examine cryostat sections under the microscope. Please see our FAQs for Requesters.

Snap frozen tissue samples are stored in freezers

Method For Snap Freezing Of Tissue Blocks

Standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the snap freezing of human tissue blocks include:


Notes On Solid Tissue Procurement

    • A practising pathologist should supervise tissue procurement to safeguard diagnostic requirements.
    • Solid tissues may be very heterogeneous in composition. For example, tumour samples may include a variable mix of different components. These components include neoplastic cells, normal cells, necrosis and fibrosis. So, one must examine a histological section from each aliquot under the microscope. In the case of frozen samples, a cryostat section must be cut.
    • The person collecting must keep specimens on wet ice until frozen or fixed.
    • The technologist must also prevent cross-contamination, dehydration and desiccation of samples.
    • Consider all human specimens as potential biohazards (section F6.1).
    From ISBER Best Practices, 2018.

    References On Snap Freezing And Storage Of Frozen Tissue Blocks

      • Hubel A, Ralf Spindler, Amy P N Skubitz. Storage of human biospecimens: selection of the optimal storage temperature. Biopreserv Biobank. 2014 Jun;12(3):165-75.
      • Jewell S.D., Srinivasan M., McCart L.M. et al. Analysis of the Molecular Quality of Human Tissues. An Experience From the Cooperative Human Tissue Network. Amer J. Clin. Path. 2002; 118(5):733–741.
      • Mager SR, Oomen MH, Morente MM, et al. Standard operating procedure for the collection of fresh frozen tissue samples. Eur J Cancer. 2007;43(5):828-34.
      • Morente MM, Mager R, Alonso S, et al. TuBaFrost 2; Standardising tissue collection and quality control procedures. for a European virtual frozen tissue bank network. Eur J Cancer 2006, 42(16):2684-2691.
      The following article provides an extensive list of references. Snap freezing of post-surgical tissue biospecimens.

      Video Showing Cryostat Sectioning Technique

        This video is from Damien Harkin of the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).  It describes the preparation of frozen sections or cryostat sections.