Sample Collection

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Blood

Blood for DNA studies is collected in lavender-top (potassium EDTA) tubes, then stored and shipped to us at room temperature.

Blood for serum or plasma studies needs to be processed locally on the same day the blood is collected, then stored and shipped to us frozen.

  • For adults, it is generally safe to collect 20 ml of blood.
  • For children older than 2-years-old it is generally safe to collect 10 ml of blood; however, this depends upon the child's medical status and whether other blood samples for non-research purposes also need to be collected.
  • For children younger than 2-years-old, it is generally safe to collect 3 ml of blood; however, this depends upon the child's medical status and whether other blood samples for non-research purposes also need to be collected.

Synovial fluid

We are permitted to receive synovial fluid that is collected during a medically-indicated diagnostic or therapeutic procedure and would otherwise have been discarded. At this time, we do not have a consent form that allows us to receive synovial fluid that is collected solely for research purposes.

Optimally, we would like synovial fluid to be processed locally following the procedure described below. However, if it is not possible to process a sample locally, synovial fluid can be directly shipped to us at room temperature using an overnight courier. Local processing procedure for synovial fluid:

  1. Expel synovial fluid (SF) from the syringe (without needle) into a polypropylene tube and immediately place on ice.
  2. Centrifuge the tube at 1000 x g for 5 minutes at 4°C.
  3. The supernatant should be transferred into a new tube and processed as described step 4. The precipitate, which often contains synovial cells should be topped with 5-10 ml of cell culture medium containing antibiotics, such as the medium used by many hospital labs for collecting skin biopsy samples. We can provide you with cell culture medium if we are contacted several days in advance. Since the United States Customs Service and Department of Agriculture restrict the importation of cells that contain non-human products, such as (fetal bovine serum, FBS), do not use FBS-containing culture medium. The cells in culture medium can be shipped at room temperature.
  4. The supernatant from step 3 should be centrifuged again for 1 hour at 20,000 x g at 4°C, separated from the precipitate, and frozen at 20°C. The frozen synovial fluid can be shipped on dry ice.

Cartilage, Synovium, Skin, and Bone

We are permitted to receive tissue samples that are collected during a medically-indicated diagnostic or therapeutic procedure and would otherwise have been discarded. At this time, we do not have a consent form that allows us to receive tissue samples that are collected solely for research purposes.

Tissue samples can be used to recover living cells and/or to study how a disease affects the structure or function of an intact tissue. Therefore, we may ask for a tissue sample to be split into different containers and processed so that we may study it in several ways. Please contact us before any procedure in which you think tissue samples will be available for research.

Tissue samples used to recover living cells should be covered with 3 volumes of cell culture medium containing antibiotics, such as the medium used by many hospital labs for collecting skin biopsy samples. We can provide you with cell culture medium if we are contacted several days in advance. Since the United States Customs Service and Department of Agriculture restrict the importation of samples that contain non-human products, such as (fetal bovine serum, FBS), do not use FBS-containing culture medium. The tissue in culture medium can be shipped at room temperature. Ship immediately even if this means a sample may arrive on the weekend, but let us know ahead of time so that we can make arrangements for special weekend receipt.

Tissue samples may require different types of processing, depending upon the types of analyses being performed. Samples may need to be flash frozen in liquid nitrogen, stored -80°C, and shipped to us on dry ice, or they may need to be placed in standard fixative (buffered formalin) or electron microscopy fixative. We can provide you with proper fixatives if we are contacted several days in advance.

Because some tissue samples may be used for several different research purposes, it is best that we be contacted before any scheduled procedure in which samples may become available for research.

Cheek swabs

When necessary, we can collect a cheek swab or saliva sample from a participant in order to recover DNA for medical research. If you think it will not be possible to provide a blood sample, please contact us, and we can arrange to have a cheek swab or saliva collecting kit sent to you.

All documents and samples should be sent by overnight delivery. By contacting us in advance, we can provide a FEDEX or DHL shipping account number so that the shipping fee will be billed directly to the Center for the Study of Genetic Skeletal Disorders.

Shipping address:
Matthew Warman, MD
Orthopedic Research Laboratories
Boston Children's Hospital
Room 260.1, Enders Building
320 Longwood Avenue,
Boston, MA 02115

phone: 617-919-2371

There is no fee for submitting a sample. Please inform us when and how a sample has been shipped, so that we know when to expect it and can contact the shipping service if problems arise.

Request an Appointment

If this is a medical emergency, please dial 9-1-1. This form should not be used in an emergency.

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This department is currently not accepting appointment requests online. Please call us at: 617-355-6000. International +1-617-355-6000.

This department is currently not accepting appointment requests online. Please call us at: 617-355-6000. International +1-617-355-6000.

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