3rd December 1997


Mrs. Teresa Gorman (Billericay): While supporting the right hon. Gentleman's concern about public health and expressing the sympathy of everyone in the House for the victims of CJD and their families, may I particularly welcome his statement that all scientific evidence must be followed up? He must be aware that SEAC has pointed out that the evidence linking the cattle feed to new-variant CJD sufferers is tenuous.

Will the right hon. Gentleman undertake to investigate the fact that a large historical collection, known as the Corsellis collection, of CJD material--9,000 specimens of brain tissue--taken from people who died from the disease in the 1950s and until recent times, before the current outbreak could possibly be attributed to their deaths, is held at Runwell hospital in my constituency? It remains to be investigated why those people died of that disease. Is the Minister aware that a scientist at Charing Cross hospital, Dr. Claire Royston, is unable to proceed with that investigation for want of resources?

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That research could be extremely significant in either confirming or refuting the current thesis as to the cause of the CJD deaths.