Skip to main content

Debate in Parliament led by Steve McCabe MP following work with Animal Free Research UK

Published on July 6, 2023

On Wednesday 4th July, Steve McCabe MP led a debate in Parliament on human-specific medical research techniques where he championed their benefits for public health, the NHS, and the UK economy.

Human-specific technologies such as organ-on-a-chip, artificial intelligence and the advanced use of human cells and tissues provide results that are directly relevant to humans, therefore offering the best possible chance for advancing medical research and getting safer medicines to patients sooner.

McCabe was joined in the debate by Shadow Minister for Science, Research and Innovation Chi Onwurah MP, and Carol Monaghan MP, SNP Spokesperson for Science Innovation and Technology, who both highlighted the need to support the uptake of these new cutting-edge technologies. Martyn Day MP, SNP spokesperson for Health and Social Care and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Human Relevant Science, also spoke in support of an urgent transition to human-specific research.

Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy Paul Scully MP responded on behalf of the Government.

During his speech, McCabe called for the development of the ‘Human-Specific Technologies Act’, a legislative framework that would support the transition to cutting-edge, animal-free technologies with timebound action plans and a duty for the Government to report to Parliament on progress.

Earlier this year, McCabe visited the Healthcare Technologies Institute at the University of Birmingham with Animal Free Research UK to learn more about the cutting-edge research undertaken there through the lifETIME (Engineered Tissues for Discovery, Industry and Medicine) Centre for Doctoral Training project. Animal Free Research UK – founding partners of the lifETIME CDT – sponsor PhD students through the programme who are developing and using human-specific techniques that could replace the use of animals in medical research.

Steve McCabe MP said: “It is clear to me that we need to act now to reap the benefits of human-specific technologies and secure Britain’s place as a global leader in this field. Patients up and down the country are waiting to see medical research breakthroughs that can lead to the better treatments they deserve. What’s more, these innovative new technologies have the potential to give a much-needed boost to the UK economy and offer a lifeline to our NHS. That’s why I am calling for the urgent development of the ‘Human-Specific Technologies Act’ to formalise our commitment to the uptake of these inspiring research techniques.”

Carla Owen, CEO of Animal Free Research UK said: “We are so grateful to Steve McCabe for raising this important issue in Parliament. It was encouraging to hear cross-party support for human-specific research which we know is broadly backed by the general public in order to achieve medical breakthroughs and end animal suffering in laboratories. Now the Government has heard the arguments for transitioning to ethical medical research, it is time they acted to accelerate the change that will benefit patients, the NHS, the economy, and animals across the UK.”

Click here to watch the debate in full, or click here to read the transcript.


Share this page