Joint Research Management Office

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The Human Tissue Act

The Human Tissue Act regulates the removal, storage and use of human tissue. This tissue is referred to in the Act as ‘relevant material’. ‘Relevant material’ is defined as:

  • Extracted RNA and DNA are not classed as ‘relevant material’ as human cells are no longer present
  • For the same reason, Plasma and Serum are exclude
  • Cell lines created outside the body are excluded, as are the hair and nails of the living
  • Live gamete and embryos are excluded as they are already regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 

The Human Tissue Authority has issued further guidance on what constitutes relevant material. 

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