A change in the way human tissue banks are registered should help prevent millions of human tissue samples, that could be used for medical research, from going to waste.
All UK human tissue banks will now be expected to register with the new central UK Clinical Research Council (UKCRC) Tissue Directory developed by experts at The University of Nottingham’s Advanced Data Analysis Centre (ADAC) in partnership with UCL (University College London).
Human tissue samples are donated by patients and collected by researchers and stored in biobanks across the UK. However, researchers intending to undertake research intohuman diseases and conditions are often hampered by an inability to find suitable samples. This change will make it easier for researchers to find suitable samples, and to maximise the re-use of samples provided by patients.
The UKCRC Tissue Directory and Coordination Centre was established to coordinate bio-banking activity in the UK. Its flagship product is the directory of biobanks that allows researchers to find biobanks across the UK.
Dr Philip Quinlan, the Director of the National UKCRC Tissue Directory and Coordination Centre, who is based at Nottingham, said: “It is fantastic that the UKCRC Tissue Directory and Coordination Centre has been recognised as the best centre to do this work, tissue banks will have an ethical obligation to ensure their sample collections are visible to the community and we hope this will lead to better coordination between biobanks ensuring more samples are contributing directly to medical progress.”
This means that anyone applying to a Research Ethics Committee (REC) to collect and store human tissue samples as a research tissue bank will be expected to register on the Directory as a condition of the favourable opinion.
Dr Quinlan said: “The University of Nottingham has undertaken many unique events, such as the Nottingham in Parliament day, that have really helped to accelerate this work. This is the first ever defined expectation for researchers to register the existence of the samples they hold. It could be a significant and exciting first step in a wider initiative to enable sharing of samples and data within research.”
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with a “distinct” approach to internationalisation, which rests on those full-scale campuses in China and Malaysia, as well as a large presence in its home city.’ (Times Good University Guide 2016). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide. It is ranked in the world’s top 75 by the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, and 8th in the UK for research power according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014. It has been voted the world’s greenest campus for four years running, according to Greenmetrics Ranking of World Universities.
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