Systems of the Human Body in Research and Education

Virtually every organ, tissue and system of the human body is needed for medical research, and nearly every disease that plagues mankind is being studied with the help of donated human organs and tissues.

Many organs act as the focal points of regenerative medicine, such as organs being decellularized to rid them of either diseased or potentially incompatible cells and later recellularized with a recipient’s own cells for eventual transplantation.

Virtually all organs are studied to identify precursors to a multitude of diseases. Through this incredible research, preventative care can be introduced to a patient well before their organs begin to fail and they face the need for an organ transplant or, in extreme circumstances, death.

Please see the downloadable diagram below for the complete list of organs and tissues for research available through IIAM. 


Used to study the influence of hormones on cardiovascular disease.


For studies on the congenital defects of the kidney and urinary tract as a major cause of pediatric renal failure. The bladder is also studied to test new compounds to cure urinary incontinence.


For studies of genetic markers, inflammatory diseases and central nervous system disorders.

Heart, Aorta, Arteries and Veins

Medical investigators use the human heart to learn about the development of atherosclerosis in coronary arteries. These and other blood vessels are used to find ways to control clot formation and high blood pressure. Ground-breaking research for bypass procedures and the development of plaque-removal devices and improved imaging methods is also underway.


Renal tissue is used to study the toxicity of anti-cancer therapies, for example, and to study the safe concentrations of other drugs in development. Kidneys are also used to identify new biomarkers to determine their transplantability and to produce safer cold preservation methods.


The liver is responsible for most drug and chemical metabolism, and is the site of drug-drug interaction and toxicity. IIAM has been a leader in providing whole, human livers to help researchers understand how human livers respond to various drugs, to develop effective screening assays for anti-HCV drugs, and to reduce researchers’ reliance on animal testing.


Research into chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, asthma, emphysema and allergies are advanced by the use of human lung tissues. In addition, researchers are testing the potential for new drugs to cause broncho-constriction of airways thus preventing possible life-threatening events.


Diabetes researchers rely on pancreatic tissues to explore the regulation of insulin production, to identify the genetic components of the disease and for toxicity studies on new compounds. Researchers are also seeking ways to prevent and cure Types I & II Diabetes. Transplantation of islet cells, the site of insulin production, is undergoing clinical trials with very promising results.


Researchers examining human skin to study comparative rates of drug absorption have developed such novel approaches as transdermal or “patch” delivery, as well as topical applications, for a variety of drug types.


As a prolific source of T-cells and B-cells, the human spleen is used by researchers to investigate AIDS and other autoimmune diseases and for tolerance studies.


Utilized in the study of gastro-esophageal reflux diseases (GERD), and to explore the side effects of new drugs for gastric disorders.


For antibody studies on human T-cells.

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