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A researcher holds up a glass slide with some tissue on

“You could think of it as their legacy to science”

Hannah Boam

The MS Society Tissue Bank has been helping scientists around the world further our understanding of MS since 1998. We caught up with a researcher and a donor who told us their Tissue Bank story.

“Without this tissue, I wouldn't have been able to make this discovery”

Photo of Dr Lida Zoupi using a microscope

Dr Lida Zoupi, researcher at MS Society Edinburgh Centre for MS Research

“I remember the moment I was looking at some brain tissue under the microscope, and realised that people with MS lost a particular type of nerve cell – a new discovery. I ran to Professor Anna Williams, the lead investigator on my project, saying “Anna, I can see the loss with my own eyes!”

Without tissue from donors, I wouldn’t have been able to make this discovery. Now, we’re using this new knowledge to find treatments that will protect the nerves of people with MS.

I’m very grateful to all the people who have donated their tissue. As researchers we don’t know the donor’s name, but the people who have kindly donated their brain made an important contribution to my research. In the same way, they will continue to contribute to the future treatments for MS, and to the education of future MS researchers. You could think of it as their legacy to science.

We are only just scratching the surface of MS, and now we have better methods to look at the brain. We’re looking at the same tissue, but we’re getting more and more detail. So, we’re getting more information to help us design effective treatments for MS.”

Find out more about Lida’s research discovery

“Some of the changes I’ve seen over the last 13 years in MS treatment are a testament to the Tissue Bank”

Photo of Ben Marshall

Mike Carpenter, Tissue Bank donor

“I was diagnosed with MS about 13 years ago, when I was 22.  I remember thinking at the time, how it always bothered me that I’m unable to be a blood donor because of my MS. Being a general organ donor is allowed now, but at the time they said we couldn’t even do that.

I signed up to the Tissue Bank after hearing about it at a support group. I thought, this is an opportunity for me to do something positive for the wider community, that doesn’t necessarily involve that much effort. It can help not just people with MS in the future, but other conditions as well.

The Tissue Bank don’t shy away from the fact that a slice of your brain alone isn’t going to find the cure for MS. But there’s lots of success stories that wouldn’t have been possible without the Bank. Some of the changes I’ve seen over the last 13 years in MS treatment are a testament to the Tissue Bank.

If you feel passionate about wanting to make a positive change, this is a way you can do it by just filling out some paperwork and carrying a card in your wallet. The Tissue Bank will take care of the rest.”

Find out more about signing up to the Tissue Bank