To the Editor:

I read with interest your article on the new draft bill for human tissue in the UK and found the Medical Research Council's comments very ironic. During the mid 1990s, I was involved in research into a scandal involving the use of gonadotropin extracted from human pituitary gland obtained from cadavers. The glands had been extracted without consent, and because they were taken by mortuary technicians instead of registered medical practitioners in breach of the current and totally inadequate Human Tissues Act of 1961, a good number of those treated with the hGH serum contracted Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. At a subsequent civil trial, the Medical Research Council was found culpable in this tragedy. I am now interested to see that they think that an effective piece of legislation to replace the ineffective one threatens research into the very disease they negligently inflicted many patients with.

Barry Turner (

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