Jo helps local scientists make our medicines safer

Jo has tabled a Parliamentary motion to help local health researchers find new medical treatments.

Jo has been working with Biopta Ltd, a specialist research service based in Bearsden, in an effort to increase the availability of human tissue on which to test new drugs. Testing treatments on human tissue samples can help to make them safer and reduce the risk of harm to living people, while avoiding wasting time and money on unsuccessful drug trials.

Jo is calling on the Government to do more to help researchers gain access to tissue samples which might otherwise go to waste, including ensuring all surgical patients in NHS hospitals have the opportunity to give samples for research. Jo has been carrying out some research into how many hospitals routinely ask their patients to donate samples, the results of which will be published shortly. Many hospitals regularly incinerate tissue samples which could be put to good use. By tabling a Parliamentary Motion on the issue, Jo hopes to put pressure on the Government to act to help make medicines safer and speed up the process of finding new treatments for diseases which affect people all over the country.

Commenting, Jo said:

“The progress of medical researchers in the UK in finding treatments for common diseases is impressive, and we have some excellent research facilities here in East Dunbartonshire, such as Biopta and of course the Beatson Institute. However, for many people who are affected by diseases for which no adequate treatment is available, that progress cannot happen fast enough.

“I hope that the work I am doing on behalf of local scientists will draw the Government’s attention to the insufficient availability of tissue samples for research. Although not well known, this is an issue which affects all of us in some way. Making medicines safer and speeding up the testing of new drugs are highly important aims for the Government to pursue, and I will continue to push this agenda in Parliament.”

The text of Jo Swinson’s Early Day Motion (EDM 212) appears below:

Access to human tissue for health research

That this house recognises the importance of access to human tissue samples for health research by academics and the pharmaceutical industry; notes that carrying out initial research on human tissue samples can help create more effective drug therapies, reduce the risk of harm to human subjects in drug trials and prevent waste of resources on unsuccessful trials; notes that lack of access to suitable human tissue can slow down progress towards finding treatments for many diseases; believes that encouraging surgical patients to consent to the use of their residual surgical tissue for research purposes is a valuable objective for government to pursue; notes with concern that there is no established standard mechanism in NHS hospitals for sharing and making researchers aware of human tissue which is stored across the UK for research purposes; calls on the government to make an exerted effort to look for ways to increase the accessibility of human tissue samples for health research.

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