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Human Tissue Work at Brunel

Human Tissue Work at Brunel

"Any research that involves human participants, the collection or study of their data, and/or the use of their organs and/or tissue, that is carried out by Brunel University London staff, or students under the supervision of Brunel University London staff, requires research ethics approval."

At Brunel University London we work to ensure that all work that falls under the Human Tissue Act 2004 is approved by the Human Tissue Authority (HTA) appointed Designated Individuals, and monitored through the Human Tissue Compliance Sub-Committee, which is a sub committee of  the University Research Ethics Committee, to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Act.

The HTA regulates organisations that remove, store and use human tissue for research, medical treatment, post-mortem examination, education and training, and display in public. They also give approval for organ and bone marrow donations from living people.

There are many different types of Relevant Material  under the Human Tissue Act that can be used for many purposes, depending on your licence,  including:

  • Treating patients with particular medical conditions
  • Transplanting into people whose organs have failed
  • Treating patients who have blood disorders like leukaemia with stem cells
  • Researching causes and treatments for illnesses, such as cancer or diseases of the brain and nervous system
  • Teaching students about the human body and training to develop the skills of surgeons
  • Display in public, such as exhibitions and museums
  • Finding out through post-mortem examination why someone has died, including examining their organs and tissue samples to determine the cause of death 

Human Tissue Act 2004

The Human Tissue Act 2004 covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

Key Points

  • The Human Tissue Act 2004 regulates the removal, storage and use of human tissue. This is defined as material that has come from a human body and consists of, or includes, human cells.
  • The Human Tissue Act 2004 creates a new offence of DNA ‘theft’. It is unlawful to have human tissue with the intention of its DNA being analysed, without the consent of the person from whom the tissue came.
  • The Human Tissue Act 2004 makes it lawful to take minimum steps to preserve the organs of a deceased person for use in transplantation while steps are taken to determine the wishes of the deceased, or, in the absence of their known wishes, obtaining consent from someone in a qualifying relationship.