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Leading medical researchers urge UK Government to accelerate uptake of human-specific technologies to tackle major health conditions

Published on July 18, 2023

Animal Free Research UK-backed scientists call for increased Government funding as Minister seeks to ease NHS pressure

Leading medical researchers have written to the Minister for Social Care, Helen Whatley MP, urging the Government to accelerate the uptake of human-specific technologies in medical research. The call comes as Government seeks to ease pressure on the NHS with one in four people suffering from two or more major long-term health conditions.

The Animal Free Research UK-backed scientists, experts in cancer, musculoskeletal disorders, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, use cutting-edge technologies such as organ-chips, artificial intelligence, and advanced human cells and tissues to achieve medical breakthroughs without using animals.

Whilst around 92% of new drugs entering clinical trials fail, despite having shown promise in preclinical animal tests, advanced technologies enable human disease to be mimicked more effectively than in animals and offer more potential for personalised drug development to better predict how a drug will work in individuals, which means more effective therapies and fewer side effects for patients.

Responding to a Government consultation on its Major Conditions Strategy which seeks ideas on how it can make better use of research, data and digital technologies to improve patient outcomes, scientists from leading universities are calling for increased funding for the development of new human-specific technologies.

Carla Owen, Animal Free Research UK CEO, said: “I welcome steps by Government to improve outcomes for patients suffering with major conditions. We know that accelerating the uptake of human-specific technologies is key to making the medical breakthroughs they deserve. Innovative and ethical research is gaining momentum the world over due to its clear potential to make much-needed discoveries in human health. The USA has recognised this with its FDA Modernization Act, and it is crucial the UK keeps pace and drives forward human-specific science that can save lives.”

Signatories to the letter include:

  • Lorna Harries, Professor of Molecular Genetics, University of Exeter, and CSO SENISCA Ltd
  • Professor Valerie Speirs, Chair in Molecular Oncology, University of Aberdeen
  • Chris Denning, Professor of Stem Cell Biology, University of Nottingham
  • Dr Adrian Biddle, Senior Lecturer, Queen Mary University of London
  • Jesmond Dalli, Professor of Molecular Pharmacology, Queen Mary University of London
  • Dr Davina C M Simoes, Assistant Professor of Cellular Pathology, University of Northumbria Newcastle
  • Dr Federica Masieri, Associate Professor of Regenerative Medicine, University of Suffolk
  • Dr Adjanie Patabendige, Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Science, Edge Hill University
  • Dr Sylwia Ammoun, Senior Research Fellow, University of Plymouth

The strategy focuses on the six most prevalent health conditions that affect patients in the UK: cancers, cardiovascular diseases (including stroke and diabetes), chronic respiratory diseases, dementia, mental ill health and musculoskeletal disorders.

You can see the full letter and list of signatories here.

1 in 4 people in the UK suffer from 2 or more major long-term health conditions:

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