The SHARE project is calling on people to sign up to a register which would mean any blood samples they provide to doctors, which would normally be disposed of after use, being retained and used for research purposes.
The blood would be used to aid research into diseases such as cancer, diabetes and asthma to help doctors understand more about how these diseases develop in different people and how these different people respond to different drugs.
The goal is to advance the science of precision medicine which aims to give the right treatment to the right patient at the right time at the right cost.
Currently many patients are given medicines they do not respond to, or which cause side effects, before the right treatment for them is found. This trial-and-error way of treatment could be rendered obsolete if scientists are able to understand more about individual patients’ responses to disease and drugs.
The SHARE project was launched at an event in Queen Elizabeth Teaching and Learning Centre at the hospital by Robert Calderwood, Chief Executive of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and Professor Anna Dominiczak, Head of the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences at the University of Glasgow.
Glasgow is an emerging global powerhouse of research into precision medicine, with massive investment in facilities and technologies at the University of Glasgow and the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow.
Facilities at the site include:
- A £6.5m dedicated innovation floor which will accommodate the Stratified Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre, a Scotland-wide collaboration with industry which will develop ‘precision medicine’ – advanced diagnostics and precise treatments for individuals across a wide range of diseases;
- A new £5m Clinical Research Facility to ensure that the hospital is at the forefront of clinical trials of new medicines;
- A £32m Imaging Centre of Excellence, opening in 2016, which will include a 7 Tesla MRI scanner, an ultra-high resolution scanner which will be the first of its kind on a clinical site in the UK, and world-leading clinical academic expertise in stroke, cardiovascular disease, and brain imaging.
Professor Anna Dominiczak, Head of the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences at the University of Glasgow, said: “Every day in Scotland around 7,000 samples of blood are discarded after use. If we could use these samples for research into a range of diseases, we could make precision medicine a reality sooner.
“We will learn more about the relationship between genes and disease, why some people get certain diseases and others don’t and how different genes respond to treatment, as well as improving drug safety.
“Ultimately the SHARE project can help us to find and develop different treatments for patients based on their unique characteristics, and this can be achieved by working together. The use of ‘spare’ blood is resourceful, unique and a ‘world first’ made possible only through close collaboration between the NHS and Universities and industry.”
Robert Calderwood said: “The development of new medicines and therapies might seem the preserve of scientists in laboratories, but everyone can play a part in developing cures for disease.
“Simply being willing to share information means scientists gain access to valuable data that can help realise the vision of precision medicine – treatments tailored to individuals.”
People, aged 16 and over living in Scotland, can sign up at www.registerforshare.org or complete FREEPOST brochures that are widely distributed throughout Scotland at clinics, GP surgeries and pharmacies.
SHARE is a partnership between the NHS in Scotland, the Scottish Government and Universities of Glasgow, Dundee, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Researchers are targeting 100,000 signatories across the country.