Page last updated at 15:29 GMT, Tuesday, 20 July 2010 16:29 UK

Ten Minute Rule Bill

New forms of drug testing using human tissue could prevent people being made seriously ill in clinical trials of new medicines, an MP has claimed.

Introducing a bill under the ten minute rule on 20 July 2010, Tory David Amess said advances in technology could prevent "disasters" like one in which six men were hospitalised after an unsuccessful drugs trial.

The six suffered multiple organ failure after being given TGN1412, which was designed to treat rheumatoid arthritis, leukaemia and multiple sclerosis.

Mr Amess said new techniques, including interconnected tissues mimicking the body in miniature, human DNA chips and new methods of administering minuscule amounts of a drug, could predict the effects of medicines "more accurately than animals ever can".

This would remove the need for many forms of animal testing, for which there was an "ethical imperative", the MP for Southend West argued.

His Safety of Medicines Bill would set up trials using drugs found to be dangerous to humans utilising the new methods and comparing them with existing animal tests.

"This will reveal which set of tests is more successful at predicting the safety of medicines in humans," he told the Commons.

He added: "The sheer scale of adverse drug reactions and the fact that they are increasing at twice the rate of prescriptions means that we have an ethical imperative to examine the causes and take action to address this very serious public health crisis."

His bill, which has cross-party support, stands little chance of becoming law without government backing.


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