33042 - Brain: Research (Answered)

Chris Leslie
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will make an assessment of the contribution of the Corsellis Brain Collection to medical research and health improvement in the UK; and if he will make a statement.

George Freeman

Started in the early 1950s by Professor Nick Corsellis at Runwell Hospital, in recent years the Corsellis Collection of brain pathology specimens has been managed and maintained by West London Mental Health Trust (WLMHT). The excess costs of maintaining the collection can only be supported by WLMHT from funds received for patient care. Therefore WLMHT has decided to dispose of the collection by seeking expressions of interest in the brain tissue of value for research, mainly sub-collections of the less common pathologies, and to respectfully dispose of that tissue for which no scientific purpose could be envisaged.

WLMHT has received expressions of interest, but none in taking the complete collection. The original timescale for closure was by the end of March 2016, but WLMHT will support a further three months activity to meet the additional requests for tissue samples. The collection will close by the end of June.

The Department and NHS England have not made any specific assessment of the contribution of the collection to medical research and health improvement in the United Kingdom, or undertaken any specific analysis of the potential effect on medical research of dismantling the collection.

The Medical Research Council supports a range of brain tissue banks which have been set-up around specific disorders and diseases generally to collect post-mortem brain tissue from consented donors.