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Category: Parallel Biobank

The Struggle for MS Support


The Struggle for Support: Cardiff NHS and the Neglected Calls for Multiple Sclerosis Patients

Living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is challenging enough without having to navigate a healthcare system that seems unresponsive and neglectful. Unfortunately, this appears to be the experience of some MS patients in Cardiff, where reports suggest, limited or a lack of support from the National Health Service (NHS). The failure to answer calls, initiate callbacks, and respond to emails raises serious concerns about the quality of care and support for individuals facing the complexities of MS.

Patients should have an emergency number they should be able to call or chat (chat should be with a human) where there is an MS nurse on standby. There should also be a link to frequently asked questions and a resources page, describing in-depth what a patient should do if they believe they are relapsing. There should be an email autoresponder to reassure patients that they will be dealt with promptly.

The Impact of MS Relapses:

For those living with MS, relapses are a common occurrence, marked by the sudden onset or worsening of symptoms. These relapses can be frightening and debilitating, requiring prompt attention and intervention from healthcare professionals. The reported lack of support exacerbates the challenges that MS patients already face, potentially leading to delayed treatment and prolonged suffering.

What to Do If You Suspect an MS Relapse:

  1. Document Your Symptoms: Keep a detailed record of your symptoms, noting their onset, duration, and severity. This information can be crucial when communicating with healthcare providers.
  2. Contact Your Neurologist or MS Nurse: If you suspect you are experiencing an MS relapse, reach out to your neurologist or MS nurse as soon as possible. Provide them with documented information about your symptoms and emphasize the urgency of the situation.
  3. Persist with Communication: In cases where calls go unanswered, callbacks are not initiated, or emails remain unresponded to, persist with your attempts to communicate. Escalate your concerns to higher levels of authority within the healthcare system if necessary.
  4. Seek Alternative Channels: Explore alternative channels of communication, such as contacting your GP or visiting urgent care if the situation warrants immediate attention. Advocate for yourself and make it clear that you need prompt assistance.
  5. Engage Patient Advocacy Groups: Connect with MS patient advocacy groups that may have resources and guidance for navigating healthcare challenges. They can offer support, share experiences, and potentially assist in resolving communication issues with healthcare providers.

Accountability and Advocacy:

The reported lack of support for MS patients is a matter of great concern, raising questions about accountability within the healthcare system. Patients have a right to timely and responsive care, especially when dealing with conditions as complex as MS.

  1. Raise Official Complaints: If you have experienced difficulties in obtaining support, consider raising an official complaint with the healthcare provider. This can help bring attention to systemic issues and contribute to improvements in the delivery of care.
  2. Contact Health Ombudsman: If your concerns are not adequately addressed, you have the option to contact the Health Ombudsman. They can independently investigate complaints about public services, including those related to healthcare.
  3. Advocate for Systemic Change: Collaborate with patient advocacy groups and engage in efforts to bring about systemic change. Advocate for increased resources, better training for healthcare staff, and improved communication processes within the NHS.


Living with Multiple Sclerosis is undoubtedly challenging, and patients rely on a responsive and supportive healthcare system to manage their condition effectively. The reported lack of support for MS patients is a cause for serious concern. Individuals need to advocate for themselves, document their experiences, and engage with advocacy groups to bring attention to systemic issues that may be compromising the quality of care. Accountability within the healthcare system is crucial to ensuring that MS patients receive the timely and effective support they need.

It used to be that the NHS had a dedicated MS team to answer calls but with all the public spending cuts this has been abolished and according to the MS Cardiff Website MS (Multiple Sclerosis) – Cardiff and Vale University Health Board (nhs.wales) the only way to contact them is as follows:

  1. For prescription/MRI inquiries: please ring either Lesley at 029 20748161, Gaynor at 029 21847104, or Hadiza at 029 20745735
  2. Day Unit admission or infusions/treatments: please contact our Day Unit on 029 20743280;   
  3. Other queries: please ring your Consultant’s Secretary who can either help with your query or speak to one of the Clinical Team:
  4. Carole (Dr Tallantyre / Dr Pickersgill) on 029 20745564
  5. Relina (Secretary for Professor Robertson) on 029 20745403 (works limited hours and passes you on to other people, as cited by a patient)
  6. Kate (Dr Willis) on 029 21847624

Every patient has a consultant and MS team and if the said people are out of the office who do you call?

** Disclaimer: Since publishing this article on 29th December 2023 there has been an update on the CAVUHB website and they have reinstated the MS Support Team, coincidence or what?

Please search the NHS website or your local hospital for other regions.


If you have a prescription/MRI inquiry, please ring either Lesley at 029 20748161, Gaynor at 029 21847104, or Hadiza (MS Nurse) at 029 20745735

If you have a query relating to Day Unit admission or infusions/treatments, please contact our Day Unit on 029 20743280;   

If you have any other queries, please ring your Consultant’s Secretary who can either help with your query or speak to one of the Clinical Team:

  • Carole (Dr Tallantyre / Dr Pickersgill) on 029 20745564
  • Relina (Professor Robertson) on 029 20745403
  •  Kate (Dr Willis) on 029 21847624

Citation: https://cavuhb.nhs.wales/our-services/ms-multiple-sclerosis/

Note From The Editor:

In my opinion, they should have an autoresponder email message telling you what to do if they are out of the office. Simply stonewalling does nothing for someone’s mental health. https://disabledentrepreneur.uk/what-if-your-gp-stonewalls-you/ They should have someone to answer calls 24/7 who could be on standby and pay the person by the length of time the call takes to get resolved. A patient who worries is at risk of having an MS relapse from stress. There should be someone on call even through the holidays, yet this was not the case when we tried reaching out today.

#multiplesclerosis #ms #msrelapse #neurologist #msteam #cardiffnhs #nhs #cav #uhw ##mssupport #msteam #autoimmune #autoimmunedisorder




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What are Serum Biobanks?

What are Serum Biobanks?

Unlocking the Power of Discovery: Exploring Serum Biobanks


Medical research, advancements, and breakthroughs often rely on access to vast and diverse collections of biological samples. One valuable resource in this regard is serum biobanks. Serum biobanks are repositories of blood serum samples with immense potential for enhancing our understanding of diseases, identifying biomarkers, and developing personalized treatments. In this article, we will delve into the concept of serum biobanks, their significance, and their impact on medical research.

What are Serum Biobanks?

Serum biobanks are specialized facilities that store and preserve blood serum samples collected from various individuals over time. Blood serum is the liquid portion of blood that remains after the removal of cells and clotting factors. It contains a wide range of proteins, hormones, antibodies, and other molecules that can provide valuable insights into an individual’s health status, disease progression, and response to treatment.

These biobanks meticulously collect, process, and store serum samples, ensuring their long-term preservation and availability for scientific investigations. Samples are usually obtained through blood draws from volunteers, patients, or individuals participating in clinical trials, population studies, or disease-specific research initiatives.

Significance in Medical Research

  1. Disease Biomarker Discovery: Serum biobanks enable researchers to analyze the molecular composition of blood serum samples from individuals with and without specific diseases. By comparing these profiles, scientists can identify potential biomarkers—measurable indicators of disease presence or progression. Biomarkers play a crucial role in early disease detection, monitoring treatment response, and developing personalized therapies.
  2. Epidemiological Studies: Large-scale serum biobanks facilitate population-based research, providing invaluable data for epidemiological studies. By analyzing serum samples from diverse populations, researchers can investigate disease prevalence, risk factors, and genetic variations across different demographics, ultimately leading to a better understanding of global health patterns.
  3. Pharmacogenomics and Drug Development: Serum biobanks support pharmacogenomic research, which explores how an individual’s genetic makeup influences their response to medications. By studying serum samples in conjunction with genetic information, researchers can identify genetic variants associated with drug efficacy and adverse reactions, leading to the development of tailored treatments and improved patient outcomes.
  4. Longitudinal Studies: Serum biobanks offer the unique advantage of tracking health changes over time. By analyzing serial serum samples from the same individuals, researchers can observe disease progression, identify early warning signs, and monitor the impact of treatments. Longitudinal studies enhance our understanding of diseases’ natural history and help evaluate the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions.

How can Serum Bio Banks help people with multiple sclerosis

Leveraging Serum Bio Banks to Empower Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neurological condition that affects millions of people worldwide. The disease’s complexity and variability make it challenging to diagnose, monitor, and develop effective treatments. However, recent advancements in medical research, particularly in the field of serum biobanks, offer hope for better understanding and managing MS. Serum biobanks play a crucial role in storing and analyzing blood samples, providing invaluable resources to researchers, healthcare providers, and individuals with MS. In this article, we will explore how serum biobanks can aid in the battle against multiple sclerosis and enhance the lives of those affected by the condition.

  1. Early Diagnosis and Identification of Biomarkers: One of the significant advantages of serum biobanks is their potential to contribute to early diagnosis and identification of biomarkers for MS. Biomarkers are measurable substances in the body that indicate the presence or progression of a disease. By analyzing blood samples from individuals with MS, researchers can search for specific biomarkers that may help early detection or even predict disease development. Serum bio banks facilitate the collection and long-term storage of blood samples from individuals at different stages of MS, including those who have not yet developed noticeable symptoms. By studying these samples, researchers can identify potential biomarkers and develop tests to aid early diagnosis. Early detection is crucial in MS, as it enables healthcare providers to effectively implement timely interventions and treatments to manage the disease.
  2. Personalized Treatment Approaches: MS is a highly heterogeneous disease that manifests differently in each individual. Serum biobanks can assist in tailoring customized treatment approaches for people with MS. By analyzing blood samples and comparing them to clinical data, researchers can identify specific biomarkers that indicate how a person’s disease may progress or respond to different treatments. With this information, healthcare providers can create individualized treatment plans, optimizing each patient’s choice of medications and therapies. Serum bio banks enable researchers to identify patterns in large data sets, which can lead to the development of precision medicine approaches in MS. These personalized treatments have the potential to improve the efficacy of therapies while minimizing adverse side effects.
  3. Monitoring Disease Progression and Treatment Efficacy: Monitoring disease progression and assessing the effectiveness of treatments are crucial aspects of managing MS. Serum biobanks play a pivotal role in this regard by providing a valuable resource for long-term follow-up studies. By regularly collecting blood samples from individuals with MS, researchers can track changes in biomarker levels over time, allowing them to gain insights into disease progression and the impact of treatments. These longitudinal studies can help identify biomarkers associated with disease activity, response to therapy, and potential relapses. Monitoring biomarkers can enable healthcare providers to make more informed decisions about treatment adjustments, ensuring optimal disease management. Additionally, studying blood samples from individuals with MS who have been on specific medications for an extended period can provide valuable data on these treatments’ long-term safety and effectiveness.
  4. Accelerating Research and Drug Development: Serum biobanks offer a treasure trove of data and biological samples that accelerate research and drug development efforts in the field of MS. These biobanks provide researchers with access to a large number of well-characterized samples, enabling them to conduct comprehensive studies on various aspects of the disease. This wealth of information can enhance our understanding of MS’s underlying mechanisms, identify potential therapeutic targets, and facilitate the development of novel treatments. Moreover, serum bio banks promote research collaboration by sharing samples and data, which can expedite scientific discoveries. By pooling resources and knowledge, researchers can collectively work towards unraveling the complexities of MS and finding more effective treatment options.

Professor Neil Roberson’s Groundbreaking Parallel Biobank: Revolutionizing Precision Medicine Research

The availability of comprehensive and diverse biological samples is crucial for advancing our understanding of human health and developing personalized treatments. Professor Neil Roberson, a pioneering figure in the field of precision medicine, has spearheaded an innovative project known as the Parallel Biobank. This extraordinary initiative aims to collect and analyze DNA, serum, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples concurrently, opening up new avenues for groundbreaking research and medical breakthroughs.

The Significance of Biobanks: Biobanks play a pivotal role in scientific research by providing scientists with access to a vast array of biological materials. They serve as repositories for valuable samples that are crucial for investigating the genetic and molecular underpinnings of various diseases and conditions. Biobanks enable researchers to uncover biomarkers, identify potential therapeutic targets, and develop tailored treatments for individuals based on their unique genetic makeup.

Professor Neil Roberson, renowned for his expertise in genetics and molecular biology-based at the ‘University Hospital of Wales, has recognized the limitations of traditional biobanks. and has collaborated with Cambridge University and the IMSGC for studies into genetic susceptibility in MS Most biobanks focus on collecting either DNA, serum, or CSF samples, resulting in fragmented data sets that hinder comprehensive analyses. To overcome this challenge, Roberson conceived the idea of a parallel biobank that collects and preserves all three types of samples in tandem.

The Parallel Biobank: Roberson’s Parallel Biobank is a groundbreaking initiative that revolutionizes the landscape of precision medicine research. By simultaneously collecting and storing DNA, serum, and CSF samples, the biobank enables a holistic approach to understanding human health, genetics, and disease progression.

  1. DNA Samples: DNA, the blueprint of life, provides invaluable insights into an individual’s genetic composition. By analyzing DNA samples from a diverse population, researchers can identify genetic variations that contribute to disease susceptibility, drug responses, and other critical factors influencing health outcomes.
  2. Serum Samples: Serum, the liquid component of blood devoid of cells and clotting factors, contains a wealth of information about an individual’s metabolic profile and disease markers. By analyzing serum samples, scientists can detect biomarkers associated with specific conditions, monitor treatment efficacy, and identify potential disease progression indicators.
  3. CSF Samples: Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is a clear, colorless fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, playing a vital role in protecting and nourishing the central nervous system. CSF samples provide researchers with a direct window into the brain, allowing for the study of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Multiple sclerosis. Analyzing CSF samples can unveil biomarkers associated with these conditions and aid in the development of targeted therapies.

Unleashing the Power of Integration: By collecting DNA, serum, and CSF samples in parallel, Professor Neil Roberson’s biobank eliminates the siloed nature of traditional repositories. Integrating these samples provides researchers with an unprecedented opportunity to uncover complex relationships between genetics, metabolic profiles, and neurological conditions. This integrated approach facilitates the identification of novel biomarkers, the development of targeted therapies, and the personalization of treatments based on an individual’s unique biological signature.

Professor Neil Roberson’s Parallel Biobank represents a paradigm shift in precision medicine research. This innovative initiative paves the way for transformative discoveries in genetics, metabolic research, and neuroscience by collecting and analyzing DNA, serum, and CSF samples in parallel. The integration of these comprehensive datasets holds immense potential for personalized medicine, where treatments are tailored to individual patients based on their unique biological characteristics. As the Parallel Biobank continues to grow, it is poised to reshape the medical research landscape and drive advancements in precision medicine, ultimately improving healthcare outcomes for individuals worldwide.

Ethical Considerations and Data Security.

Challenges and Ethical Considerations

As with any biobank initiative, ethical considerations are of utmost importance. Professor Roberson’s Parallel Biobank adheres to stringent ethical guidelines and obtains informed consent from participants, ensuring the protection of privacy and confidentiality. Additionally, robust data security measures are implemented to safeguard the integrity and anonymity of the samples and associated information.

While serum biobanks hold great promise, they face several challenges and ethical considerations. These include ensuring informed consent and privacy protection, maintaining sample quality during storage, standardizing protocols for sample collection and processing, and addressing issues related to sample accessibility and ownership.


Serum biobanks represent a crucial resource for medical research, facilitating the exploration of disease mechanisms, personalized medicine, and improved healthcare outcomes. By unlocking the secrets held within blood serum samples, scientists can uncover vital biomarkers, understand disease dynamics, and develop innovative treatments. However, it is essential to navigate the ethical challenges associated with serum biobanks to ensure that these invaluable repositories are utilized responsibly and for the benefit of all. With continued advancements in technology and increasing collaboration, serum biobanks have the potential to revolutionize medical research and contribute significantly to global health.

Serum biobanks have emerged as valuable assets in the fight against multiple sclerosis. Through the collection, storage, and analysis of blood samples, these biobanks enable researchers and healthcare providers to advance our understanding of the disease, identify biomarkers, personalize treatment approaches, monitor disease progression, and accelerate drug development. The insights gained from serum biobanks hold immense potential for improving the lives of individuals with MS, offering hope for more effective management strategies and ultimately, a cure for this debilitating condition.

Further Reading:

Professor Neil Robertson – People – Cardiff University


Basic principles of biobanking: from biological samples to precision medicine for patients – PMC (nih.gov)

Guidelines for CSF Processing and Biobanking: Impact on the Identification and Development of Optimal CSF Protein Biomarkers – PubMed (nih.gov)

Biospecimen Inventory (bocabio.com)


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