33462 - Brain: Research (Answered)

Chris Leslie
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what the cost to the public purse has been of storing, maintaining and facilitating research access to the Corsellis Brain Collection in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement.

George Freeman

The excess costs of maintaining the collection compared with the income from specimen preparation over a number of years have rendered the collection unsustainable as a research resource. West London Mental Health Trust has therefore decided - once it has responded to current requests for samples - to respectfully dispose of those tissue samples for which no scientific purpose can be envisaged. Some tissue has also been requested by the University of Hong Kong for training purposes for their neuropathology students, which the Trust is providing as a more appropriate use of such clinical material than respectful disposal. The Trust has obtained the appropriate Human Tissue Authority licenses for this work. We understand that the collection will close by the end of June 2016.

The Trust has provided figures for each of the three years to 2014/15. In each case the cost has been borne by the Trust, offset (to a relatively small extent) by fees received for tissue sample requests and - in 2014/15 - by a donation. The figures are shown in the following table.

Financial Year
















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.