Rapid Autopsy


The Legacy Gift Rapid Autopsy Program is closed until further notice. Thank you for considering this generous donation.

If you or a family member is currently enrolled in the program, please reach out with any questions or concerns. Please refer back to our webpage for updates.

The Legacy Gift Rapid Autopsy program arranges and performs autopsies on an urgent basis to collect tumor and other tissues for researchers in many different areas. Specimens collected at autopsy have been used to grow living cell lines which can be used to evaluate for genetic mutations and test new chemotherapies. Samples can also undergo genetic sequencing and RNA expression analysis, as well as immunohistochemical and proteomic studies.

In the News...

Dr. Jody Hooper Using Rapid Autopsies for Research

Dr. Jody Hooper, former Legacy Gift Director, is featured in an article in the Baltimore Sun on the value of rapid autopsies. The rise in popularity of launching the same program in other medical institutions comes from the significant clinical contribution the program has in continuing the battle for cancer and other diseases.

Read the full article.

(video animation created by Kari Opert)

Why Rapid Autopsy?

Rapid autopsies provide completely unique research opportunities. Tumor samples can be taken for cancer or disease that has

  • become locally aggressive
  • developed resistance to treatment, and/or
  • spread throughout the body

Multiple body sites can be sampled in large quantities and new sites of tumor spread can be found that were not detected during life; these areas can also be sampled for research.

Patients or family members sign the Study Consent for participation in the Rapid Autopsy program before the patient's passing. At the time of the death, the next-of-kin will sign an Autopsy Consent. Arrangements can be made to transport patients who pass away in hospice care or at home to the hospital by a funeral service at no cost to the family. Researchers also pay the cost of performance of the autopsy itself.