Strong support for ground-breaking medical research in Scotland
SHARE (The Scottish Health Research Register) is a unique project which aims to make it easier for researchers in Scotland to carry out ground-breaking medical research and uses blood left over from testing to help improve treatments for diseases such as cancer, diabetes and asthma.
Every day in Scotland around 70,000 samples of blood are discarded after routine clinical testing. Researchers are asking the public across Scotland to allow them access to that spare blood.
The SHARE project is pioneering an easy way for people to help the fight against disease. It only takes one minute to sign up to SHARE but the benefits may be felt for generations to come, say researchers.
Mrs Evelyn Hood (78), from Ruthven in Angus, has just become the 50,000th person to sign up to the project.
“I have seen family members suffer with serious illness. If by doing something as simple as this I can give a help to research that might give us better diagnosis and earlier and improved treatments for diseases then that can only be a good thing.”
“I have blood taken two or three times a year and it seems a waste to have the spare blood thrown away when it could be put to good use,” said Mrs Hood. “I also can’t think of a more effortless way of helping with medical research.
Colin Palmer, Professor of Pharmacogenomics at the University of Dundee, is leading on SHARE’s spare blood appeal. He said, “Over the past 15 years thousands of people across Tayside have signed up to genetic studies and this has resulted directly in major discoveries of genetic variants for eczema, asthma, diabetes and heart disease amongst others.
“However, we need to study many more people to really make this research useful and help transform the personalisation of healthcare, therefore we are asking people to give us permission to use leftover blood that is normally thrown away for research. We want over 100,000 people to sign up to the SHARE register throughout Scotland by the end of 2015.
“All people need to do to get involved is register online or complete a simple leaflet registration that can be found at doctor’s surgeries and hospitals throughout Scotland. It literally takes a minute and they do not need to do anything else - there is no need for a special sample of blood to be taken and they do not need to make a visit to their doctor. All the samples which we are given access to will be made anonymous using a barcode system.”
The use of `spare’ blood in this way is a world first.
People can sign up at www.registerforshare.org or complete FREEPOST brochures that are widely distributed throughout Scotland including Clinics, GP surgeries and pharmacies.
Scots on the register have agreed to be informed about health research projects that they may be interested in taking part in. There is no obligation to take part in any specific study and it is up to the individual to choose whether or not to take part in any of these studies.
SHARE is a partnership between the NHS in Scotland, the Scottish Government and Universities in Scotland.