Storage & Shipping

Biospecimen Storage

We offer both short and long-term storage for your biospecimens. Our facilities house –180 degree liquid nitrogen tanks and cryo-freezers to ensure study specific biospecimen samples (such as: fresh frozen and formalin fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) tissue, compartmentalized blood components such as serum, plasma, and whole blood and other biofluids, including urine, saliva, throat and nasal swabs, etc.) are preserved using best practices and high-quality standards.  Our routinely checked tanks and freezers mean you can store your samples here with utmost confidence that your samples maintain their integrity and viability.

We perform annual calibration on all freezers to ensure sample quality and longevity. All of our ultra-low-temperature freezers are closely monitored 24/7 with individual freezer alarms and our entire cryo-storage facility is enabled with an O2 sensor alarm system. Furthermore, our established security provides you assurance that your samples are safeguarded.

Storage Types

Our Cryo-storage sample types include but are not limited to:

  • Frozen Tissue (Whole tissues, Biopsies, Cell Blocks)
  • Frozen Blood (Whole or Compartmentalized)
  • Frozen Biofluids, including Urine and Saliva
  • Frozen Tissue slides (RNA Slides)

Our inventory is annotated and traceable down to the vial, block or slide with each specimen having a unique barcode or Participant Protocol Identifier (PPID). These PPID’s are randomly generated and in place to de-identify samples therefore encrypting all patient sensitive data when released to researchers and protecting the donor’s Personal Health Information (PHI).  Pinpointing the exact location of the sample can be done in seconds at request.

Sample types that may be stored at room temperature include:

  • Fixed Tissue Blocks (FFPE, TMAs)
  • Fixed tissue slides (H&E slides, DNA LCM slides)

These samples are typically given a Participant Protocol Identifier (PPID) and stored alongside PM oncology’s archive, within their study specific storage containers. UHN Biospecimen Services can also accommodate different box size requirements in custom racks. In addition, see our e-library for digital storage.

Biospecimen Shipping

UHN Biospecimen Services offers specialized shipping, tracking and documentation for stored biospecimens, both domestically and internationally.

Our experienced team ensures proper handling of biospecimens and strict adherence to distinct regulations and best practices during the shipping process to guarantee a high-integrity and a safe, timely delivery of samples.

Why Choose Us?


Personnel are trained, certified and compliant with IATA (International Aviation Transportation Association) Transportation of Dangerous Goods for the safe transport of Biological Specimens and Infectious Substances.


All cryogenic shipping equipment is validated for performance against manufacturer’s specifications prior to use and on a routine basis.

Temperature Management

Shipments are equipped with special data-loggers to monitor temperature during transit and the shipping process. Also, Liquid nitrogen top-ups are routinely practised to regulate and maintain an optimal temperature.

Shipment Monitoring

Each shipment is equipped with tracking information that is updated regularly. In addition, we have strong relationships with couriers to verify any shipping delays are resolved quickly.


We provide the required documentation to avoid any delays with your shipment.

Upon requesting your services, you may select this option in the Storage and Shipping area of the form below.