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Published on 21 November 2007

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Money for cancer studies “wasted”


A cancer research charity has hit out at claims that studies into the disease may have been a waste of time.

BBC Radio’s File on 4 alleges that millions of pounds of donations and taxpayers’ money have been spent on worthless research.

Researchers told the programme that thousands of projects have been “invalidated” because some scientists failed to carry out simple checks on human tumour cells.

Experts claim that a failure to validate cell lines at the beginning of some of the studies has meant some scientists have been forced to conduct the research again.

But Cancer Research UK’s executive director of science operations and funding, Dr Lilian Clark, said: “That is most certainly not the experience of Cancer Research UK, which has a strict process to minimise the risk of any mistake being made in our laboratories.

“It is of paramount importance for us to ensure that all our researchers deliver world-class science – they have the latest systems and robust procedures in place to guarantee this.”

She added: “With regard to cell lines, all Cancer Research UK scientists have access to the charity’s cell bank, which provides a high-quality, regulated central service.

“The checking procedures for this resource are stringent and these include cross-species checks, a DNA authenticating service and a quarantine facility which can screen lines obtained from external agencies.”

Copyright © PA Business 2007

Cancer Research UK

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