Medical and scientific research workers in industry, academia and hospitals need human tissue samples for their research programmes. Many bioscientists have tried to achieve this by establishing a direct relationship with a surgeon or a pathologist at a local hospital. In many cases, the supply is unreliable and, consequently, the progress of good research has been frustrated.1 The recent controversy involving staff working at the Alder Hey and Bristol Hospitals has shown that the consent of the next of kin to use non-transplantable organs and tissues for medical research has not always been obtained. It is highly likely that this practice has occurred at other hospitals throughout the UK.
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