Scottish television presenter becomes the 100,000th volunteer to join pioneering health initiative

Scottish television presenter Lorraine Kelly has signed up to SHARE
Scottish television presenter Lorraine Kelly has signed up to SHARE

Television presenter – and former rector of the University of Dundee – Lorraine Kelly has become the 100,000th volunteer to join a Scotland-wide effort to help shape the medicines of the future.

SHARE (The Scottish Health Research Register) is a unique initiative which aims to make it easier for researchers to identify suitable recruits from Scotland to carry out ground breaking medical research.

SHARE also uses blood left over from routine testing to help improve treatments for diseases such as cancer, diabetes, alzheimer’s and asthma.

The initiative also makes it easier for people to get involved with research, and volunteers have been signing up to SHARE as a result of invitations through their hospital appointment, being approached in doctor’s surgeries, and via social media reports.

Lorraine Kelly said: “I am delighted to be part of this pioneering health initiative. It is important that everyone gets an opportunity to help medical research.

“Scottish health researchers have always provided ground breaking new treatments that have transformed global health. This is our chance to help develop the next generation of treatments for a healthier Scotland.”

SHARE is pioneering an easy way for people to help the fight against disease. It only takes one minute to sign up to SHARE but the benefits may be felt for generations to come, say researchers.

Colin Palmer, professor of Pharmacogenomics at the University of Dundee, is leading on SHARE’s spare blood appeal.

He said: “Tens of thousands of people have signed up across Scotland over the past 15 years to genetic studies which have resulted directly in major discoveries of genetic variants for Eczema, Asthma, Diabetes and Heart disease amongst others.

“However, to really maximise the benefits of this research and help transform the personalisation of healthcare, we need to study really large samples so it is vital we find new and simple ways for people to help.”

Professor Brian McKinistry, of the Centre for Population Health Sciences at the University of Edinburgh, said: “SHARE is a way people can get involved and help make a huge impact. All people need to do to get involved is register online or complete a simple leaflet registration that can be found at doctor’s surgeries and hospitals throughout Scotland.

“It literally takes a minute and they do not need to do anything else - there is no need for a special sample of blood to be taken and they do not need to make a visit to their doctor. All the samples which we are given access to will be made anonymous using a barcode system.”

SHARE, is the largest register of volunteers in the UK and the use of `spare’ blood in this way is a world first.

People can sign up at www.registerforshare.org or complete FREEPOST brochures that are widely distributed throughout Scotland including clinics, GP surgeries and pharmacies.