Posts Tagged ‘Nuffield Council’

Nuffield Council on Bioethics celebrates 20 years

In 2012, Human tissue on January 17, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Yesterday a number of us received copies of a Report reviewing and celebrating 20 years of events and activities since the establishment of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics in 1991. The Report includes a foreward from the current Chair, Professor Albert Weale, who notes the increasing global life expectancy – since 1950 – from 46 years of age to 70 (80 in wealthier nations), and the bioethical questions provoked by increased well-being:  ‘In short, how can we lead lives, collectively as well as individually, that embody respect and justice given our growing understanding of health and life processes?’

Prof. Weale goes on to say:  ‘[T]he Council has sought to anticipate and not merely respond to public concerns, accepting that it will never have the last word but hoping sometimes to have the first. Its success has relied upon all those who have been on working parties, provided evidence and opinion in public consultations, worked for the Council secretariat or sat on the Council itself.‘ (emphasis added)

We are delighted to have been able to contribute to the public consultation that fed into one of its most recent reports, Human Bodies: donation for medicine and research – this was a revisitation of the issues around the use of human tissue/bodily materials in medicine and research, the subject of the Council’s second enquiry, which reported in 1995. HEAL, in its capacity as a consultation respondent, is cited on p88: ‘Whilst it might be right to try to meet ‘demand’ for renewable materials such as blood, the ‘demand’ for female egg donation in potentially limitless’. Further, both HEAL and the University of Southampton have strong links with the Council itself, as Professor Anneke Lucassen and Professor Hugh Perry are current Council members, and Dr Caroline Jones has recently provided evidence on legal and policy issues arising from mitochondrial DNA donation.

We wish the Nuffield Council on Bioethics a very successful future.

Legal Regulation and Xenotransplantation

In 2011, Human tissue on November 11, 2011 at 6:08 pm

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics report on Human Bodies: donation for medicine and research suggested that the initial promise of xenotransplantation has yet been realised, partly because of concerns over the risk of gene transmission (para 3.43) but that its future use should not be discounted. The regulation of Xenotransplantation has become less visible since the UK Xenotransplantation Interim Regulatory Authority (UKXIRA) was disbanded in 2006. Guidance on Xenotransplantation was issued by the Department of Health that expects Research Ethics Committees to oversee such activity. The latest guidance on research governance procedures came into effect on 1 September 2011. The Gene Therapy Advisory Committee had been responsible for licensing decisions on xenotransplantation of animal cells (but not solid organs) until June 2011, when this role transferred to the National research Ethics Service (NRES). In due course, the NRES will become part of the body established under the Health Research Authority (Establishment and Constitution) Order 2011 and  Health Research Agency Regulations 2011, as recommended by a  report of the Academy of Medical Sciences.These regulations come into force on 1 December 2011. The Academy has also recently published a report on issues raised by animals containing human material. According to the MRC, trials of xenogenic cell therapy must comply with the Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product Regulations (EC) No 1394/2007. Hazel Biggs has also drawn attention to the conundrum of consent in this area of uncertainty, see Healthcare Research Ethics and Law at page 90. Perhaps it is time to revisit this area of legal regulation.

Nuffield Council’s Report on Human Bodies

In 2011, Human tissue, News on October 10, 2011 at 7:46 am

The Nuffield Council’s Report on ‘Human Bodies: donation for medicine and research’ will be published on Tuesday October 11. A launch seminar will be held that afternoon with members of the Working Party and guests discussing the Report’s conclusions and policy recommendations.

According to the Nuffield Council’s website, the two key issues addressed in the Report are:

  1. How far should society go in trying to encourage people to donate their bodily material? For example, is it acceptable to offer people money?
  2. What is the role of the government and others in responding to the demand for bodily material? For example, how can barriers to donation be removed, and how can the need for donated bodily material be reduced?

Further information, including details on how to book a place at this event, can be found here.