Wednesday, February 06, 2008

More on BioBanking

According to BBC news, the UK may allow researchers to clone cells from human tissues donated for research purposes ... without the express consent of the donor.

Supporters assert that being able to clone cells from diseased tissue (eg, from tumor or other pathology samples) would allow researchers to learn more about those conditions -- and could speed the translation of basic-science research into clinically beneficial knowledge and treatments.

Opponents comment that sidestepping informed consent -- particularly for cloning, which creates copies of the donor's cells -- is a plain violation of research participants' rights to decide whether to participate in such studies. And, given the range of public opinion regarding cloning, it is conceivable that some research participants would oppose the use of their donations for this purpose.

This is another version of the question I've blogged about with regard to biobanking: just what should be the scope of allowed activities under a "blanket" or "one-time" consent? Also, should the research imperative (and perhaps the common good) outweigh individuals' preferences ion such cases?

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