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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Gibson MSP

SCOTLAND CHALLENGED TO PLAY KEY ROLE IN mRNA RESEARCH


Dr Paul Burton, Chief Medical Officer, Moderna, which led the way in the development of mRNA vaccines against COVID, says the technology has the potential to impact both cancer prevention and treatment.


Speaking at a meeting of the Cross Party Group (CPG) on Life Sciences at Holyrood, Dr Burton suggested Scotland's size, NHS and close working relationships with universities, give it significant advantages and a key role in clinical research around new technologies and therapies such as Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccination.


mRNA carries instructions from DNA in a cell’s nucleus to sites where proteins are made, enabling the body to effectively produce its own proteins. Thus, mRNA medicines fight disease differently from traditional medicine by prompting one’s own immune system to treat or prevent disease.


Dr Burton said:


“I was delighted to present and discuss with CPG opportunities from Moderna’s significant investment and partnership.


“We explored working with Scotland on clinical trials, NHS data and future skills and education across the medical spectrum. It is through this type of dynamic partnership that we can make a long-term impact on health inequalities and improve public health.”


Dr Burton believes that if a company signed a single national research or clinical trials agreement for all of Scotland, allowing access to each of its academic medical sites it would be hugely beneficial.


He suggested that future trials will be decentralised and digitised to save people travelling into research centres. Moderna is already involved in such research


Dr Burton added:


“Scotland, because of the comprehensive health system here and its amazing academic medical centres and research, is perfectly placed to be a world leader.”


CPG Convener Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:


“Dr Burton gave us a fascinating insight into a hugely important area of clinical research – and challenged us to make sure Scotland is central to this work, ensuring patients can benefit from innovative new treatments.


“The CPG is delighted that both life sciences and health ministers routinely join our meetings.


“Working together, I am confident that we can help the health and life sciences community in Scotland rise to the challenge Dr Burton gave us.”


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