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1.  Umbilical cord blood banking: from personal donation to international public registries to global bioeconomy 
The procedures for collecting voluntarily and freely donated umbilical cord blood (UCB) units and processing them for use in transplants are extremely costly, and the capital flows thus generated form part of an increasingly pervasive global bioeconomy. To place the issue in perspective, this article first examines the different types of UCB biobank, the organization of international registries of public UCB biobanks, the optimal size of national inventories, and the possibility of obtaining commercial products from donated units. The fees generally applied for the acquisition of UCB units for transplantation are then discussed, and some considerations are proposed regarding the social and ethical implications raised by the international network for the importation and exportation of UCB, with a particular emphasis on the globalized bioeconomy of UCB and its commerciality or lack thereof.
doi:10.2147/JBM.S64090
PMCID: PMC4069132  PMID: 24971040
cord blood banking; economy; ethics; stem cells; transplantation
2.  Informed consent for cord blood donation. A theoretical and empirical study 
Blood Transfusion  2011;9(3):292-300.
Background and objectives
Umbilical cord blood (CB) banking and therapeutic use raise several ethical issues: medical indications, legal framework, public versus private biobanks, autologous versus allogeneic use, ownership, commercialisation, quality assurance and many others. Surrogate informed consent is one of the most notable controversial ethical issues. The aim of this study was to analyse and compare informed consent forms for CB collection, storage and use in the 18 accredited biobanks of the Italian Network.
Material and methods
The first part of the article gives a brief overview of the scientific framework, the comparison of allogeneic and autologous use and Italian regulations. In the second part the contents of the consent forms from the 18 Italian biobanks are compared with the “NetCord-FACT International Standards for Cord Blood Collection, Banking, and Release for Administration”.
Results
Most of the Italian consent forms differ significantly from the NetCord-FACT Standards, with regards both to formal and substantial aspects.
Conclusion
Italian forms for CB collection, storage and use need standardisation to meet international criteria.
doi:10.2450/2010.0083-10
PMCID: PMC3136597  PMID: 21251456
cord blood; informed consent; biological specimens banks; transplantation
3.  Biobanking research on oncological residual material: a framework between the rights of the individual and the interest of society 
BMC Medical Ethics  2013;14:17.
Background
The tissue biobanking of specific biological residual materials, which constitutes a useful resource for medical/scientific research, has raised some ethical issues, such as the need to define which kind of consent is applicable for biological residual materials biobanks.
Discussion
Biobank research cannot be conducted without considering arguments for obtaining the donors’ consent: in this paper we discuss to what extent consent in biobank research on oncological residual materials has to be required, and what type of consent would be appropriate in this context, considering the ethical principles of donation, solidarity, protection of the donors’ rights and the requirements of scientific progress. Regarding the relationship between informed consent and tissue collection, storage and research, we have focused on two possible choices related to the treatment of data and samples in the biobank: irreversible and reversible anonymization of the samples, distinguishing between biobank research on residual materials for which obtaining consent is necessary and justified, and biobank research for which it is not. The procedures involve different approaches and possible solutions that we will seek to define. The consent for clinical research reported in the Helsinki Declaration regards research involving human beings and for this reason it is subordinate to specific and detailed information on the research projects.
Summary
An important ethical aspect in regard to the role of Biobanks is encouraging sample donation. For donors, seeing human samples being kept rather than discarded, and seeing them become useful for research highlights the importance of the human body and improves the attitude towards donation. This process might also facilitate the giving of informed consent more willingly, and with greater trust.
doi:10.1186/1472-6939-14-17
PMCID: PMC3616854  PMID: 23547565
Biobanks; Consent; Oncological residual material; Cancer biobanks; Residual materials biobanks; Informed consent; Ethics; Research; Solidarity
4.  Public’s attitudes on participation in a biobank for research: an Italian survey 
BMC Medical Ethics  2014;15(1):81.
Background
The creation of biobanks depends upon people’s willingness to donate their samples for research purposes and to agree to sample storage. Moreover, biobanks are a public good that requires active participation by all interested stakeholders at every stage of development. Therefore, knowing public’s attitudes towards participation in a biobank and biobank management is important and deserves investigation.
Method
A survey was conducted among family members of patients attending the outpatient department of our institute for a geriatric or neurological visit, documenting their willingness to participate in a biobank and their views on the legal-ethical aspects of biobank management. Information regarding subjects’ attitudes on biomedical research in general and genetic research in particular was also collected. Participants’ data on biobanks were compared with data previously collected from the Italian ethics committees (ECs) to evaluate the extent to which lay people and ethics committees share views and concerns regarding biobanks.
Results
One hundred forty-five subjects took part in the survey. The willingness to give biological samples for the constitution of a biobank set up for research purposes was declared by 86% of subjects and was modulated by subjects’ education. People in favour of providing biological samples for a biobank expressed a more positive view on biomedical research than did people who were not in favour; attitude towards genetic research in dementia was the strongest predictor of participation. Different from ECs that prefer specific consent (52%) and do not choose the option of broad consent (8%) for samples collection in a biobank, participants show a clear preference for broad consent (57%), followed by partially restricted consent (16%), specific consent (15%), and multi-layered consent (12%). Almost all of the subjects available to contribute to a biobank desire to receive both individual research results and research results of general value, while around fifty per cent of ECs require results communication.
Conclusion
Family members showed willingness to participate in a biobank for research and expressed a view on the ethical aspects of a biobank management that differ on several issues from the Italian ECs’ opinion. Laypersons’ views should be taken into account in developing biobank regulations.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1472-6939-15-81) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1472-6939-15-81
PMCID: PMC4258254  PMID: 25425352
Public attitudes; Biobanks; Genetic research; Bioethics; Ethical policy
5.  Challenges in biobank governance in Sub-Saharan Africa 
BMC Medical Ethics  2013;14:35.
Background
Biological sample and data transfer within and out of Africa is steeped in controversy With the H3Africa project now aiming to establish biobanks in Africa, it is essential that there are ethical and legal governance structures in place to oversee the operation of these biobanks. Such governance is essential to ensuring that donors are protected, that cultural perspectives are respected and that researchers have a ready availability of ethically sourced biological samples.
Methods
A literature review of all legislation, regulations, guidelines and standard operating procedures on informed consent, confidentiality and the transfer of biological samples amongst countries in Sub-Saharan Africa was conducted. In addition, an examination of the websites of departments of health and national ethics committees was performed. Researchers and research ethics scholars in the field in various African countries were contacted for assistance. A literature review of all studies examining participants views on issues related to biobanking in Africa was carried out and five separate studies were found.
Results
It was found that biobanking guidelines differ substantially across Sub-Saharan Africa regarding biobanking and often conflicted across borders. This has the potential to negatively impact collaboration. Furthermore, the guidelines in place often do not recognise the ethical difficulties arising from the transfer of biological samples and are unsuitable to regulate biobanks. Additionally, there is insufficient research into the views of research participants and stakeholders on the use of biological /samples.
Conclusion
Collaboration is necessary to ensure the success of biobanking projects in Africa. To achieve this, there should be some harmonization of guidelines across Africa which would aid in transferring biological samples across borders. These guidelines should reflect the unique ethical issues arising out of the storage and secondary uses of biological samples. Finally, further research into the views of research participants is necessary. Such studies should aid in the drafting of any new harmonization guidelines.
doi:10.1186/1472-6939-14-35
PMCID: PMC3849982  PMID: 24025667
6.  Ethical issues relating to the banking of umbilical cord blood in Mexico 
BMC Medical Ethics  2009;10:12.
Background
Umbilical cord banks are a central component, as umbilical cord tissue providers, in both medical treatment and scientific research with stem cells. But, whereas the creation of umbilical cord banks is seen as successful practice, it is perceived as a risky style of play by others. This article examines and discusses the ethical, medical and legal considerations that arise from the operation of umbilical cord banks in Mexico.
Discussion
A number of experts have stated that the use of umbilical cord goes beyond the mere utilization of human tissues for the purpose of treatment. This tissue is also used in research studies: genetic studies, studies to evaluate the effectiveness of new antibiotics, studies to identify new proteins, etc. Meanwhile, others claim that the law and other norms for the functioning of cord banks are not consistent and are poorly defined. Some of these critics point out that the confidentiality of donor information is handled differently in different places. The fact that private cord banks offer their services as "biological insurance" in order to obtain informed consent by promising the parents that the tissue that will be stored insures the health of their child in the future raises the issue of whether the consent is freely given or given under coercion. Another consideration that must be made in relation to privately owned cord banks has to do with the ownership of the stored umbilical cord.
Summary
Conflicts between moral principles and economic interests (non-moral principles) cause dilemmas in the clinical practice of umbilical cord blood storage and use especially in privately owned banks. This article presents a reflection and some of the guidelines that must be followed by umbilical cord banks in order to deal with these conflicts. This reflection is based on the fundamental notions of ethics and public health and seeks to be a contribution towards the improvement of umbilical cord banks' performance.
doi:10.1186/1472-6939-10-12
PMCID: PMC2745420  PMID: 19678958
7.  Biobanking, consent, and commercialization in international genetics research: the Type 1 Diabetes Genetics Consortium 
Clinical Trials (London, England)  2010;7(1_supplement):S33-S45.
Background and Purpose This article describes several ethical, legal, and social issues typical of international genetics biobanking, as encountered in the Type 1 Diabetes Genetics Consortium (T1DGC).
Methods By studying the examples set and lessons learned from other international biobanking studies and by devoting considerable time and resources to identifying, addressing, and continually monitoring ethical and regulatory concerns, T1DGC was able to minimize the problems reported by some earlier studies.
Conclusions Several important conclusions can be drawn based on the experience in this study: (1) Basic international standards for research ethics review and informed consent are broadly consistent across developed countries. (2) When consent forms are adapted locally and translated into different languages, discrepancies are inevitable and therefore require prompt central review and resolution before research is initiated. (3) Providing separate ‘check-box’ consent for different elements of a study creates confusion and may not be essential. (4) Creating immortalized cell lines to aid future research is broadly acceptable, both in the US and internationally. (5) Imposing some limits on the use of stored samples aids in obtaining ethics approvals worldwide. (6) Allowing potential commercial uses of donated samples is controversial in some Asian countries. (7) Obtaining government approvals can be labor-intensive and time-consuming, and can require legal and diplomatic skills.
doi:10.1177/1740774510373492
PMCID: PMC2917846  PMID: 20693188
8.  Key issues in transplant tourism 
Access to organ transplantation depends on national circumstances, and is partly determined by the cost of health care, availability of transplant services, the level of technical capacity and the availability of organs. Commercial transplantation is estimated to account for 5%-10% (3500-7000) of kidney transplants performed annually throughout the world. This review is to determine the state and outcome of renal transplantation associated with transplant tourism (TT) and the key challenges with such transplantation. The stakeholders of commercial transplantation include: patients on the waiting lists in developed countries or not on any list in developing countries; dialysis funding bodies; middlemen, hosting transplant centres; organ-exporting countries; and organ vendors. TT and commercial kidney transplants are associated with a high incidence of surgical complications, acute rejection and invasive infection which cause major morbidity and mortality. There are ethical and medical concerns regarding the management of recipients of organs from vendors. The growing demand for transplantation, the perceived failure of altruistic donation in providing enough organs has led to calls for a legalised market in organ procurement or regulated trial in incentives for donation. Developing transplant services worldwide has many benefits - improving results of transplantation as they would be performed legally, increasing the donor pool and making TT unnecessary. Meanwhile there is a need to re-examine intrinsic attitudes to TT bearing in mind the cultural and economic realities of globalisation. Perhaps the World Health Organization in conjunction with The Transplantation Society would set up a working party of stakeholders to study this matter in greater detail and make recommendations.
doi:10.5500/wjt.v2.i1.9
PMCID: PMC3812925  PMID: 24175191
Living unrelated donor; Organ trafficking; Transplant commercialism; Infection; Graft survival; Patient survival; Complication
9.  We’re not in it for the money—lay people’s moral intuitions on commercial use of ‘their’ biobank 
Great hope has been placed on biobank research as a strategy to improve diagnostics, therapeutics and prevention. It seems to be a common opinion that these goals cannot be reached without the participation of commercial actors. However, commercial use of biobanks is considered morally problematic and the commercialisation of human biological materials is regulated internationally by policy documents, conventions and laws. For instance, the Council of Europe recommends that: “Biological materials should not, as such, give rise to financial gain”. Similarly, Norwegian legislation reads: “Commercial exploitation of research participants, human biological material and personal health data in general is prohibited”. Both articles represent kinds of common moral intuitions. A problem, however, is that legislative documents are too vague and provide room for ample speculation. Through the use of focus group interviews with Norwegian biobank donors, we have tried to identify lay intuitions and morals regarding the commercial use of biobanks. Our findings indicate that the act of donation and the subsequent uses of the samples belong to two different spheres. While concerns around dignity and commodification were present in the first, injustice and unfairness were our informants’ major moral concerns in the latter. Although some opposition towards commercial actors was voiced, these intuitions show that it is possible to render commercial use of biobanks ethically acceptable based on frameworks and regulations which hinder commodification of the human body and promote communal benefit sharing.
doi:10.1007/s11019-011-9353-9
PMCID: PMC3617351  PMID: 22028241
Benefit sharing; Biobanking; Commercialisation; Commodification; Focus group research; Lay perspective
10.  Cancer patient perceptions on the ethical and legal issues related to biobanking 
Background
Understanding the perception of patients on research ethics issues related to biobanking is important to enrich ethical discourse and help inform policy.
Methods
We examined the views of leukemia patients undergoing treatment in clinics located in the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. An initial written survey was provided to 100 patients (64.1% response rate) followed by a follow-up survey (62.5% response rate) covering the topics of informed consent, withdrawal, anonymity, incidental findings and the return of results, ownership, and trust.
Results
The majority (59.6%) preferred one-time consent, 30.3% desired a tiered consent approach that provides multiple options, and 10.1% preferred re-consent for future research. When asked different questions on re-consent, most (58%) reported that re-consent was a waste of time and money, but 51.7% indicated they would feel respected and involved if asked to re-consent. The majority of patients (62.2%) stated they had a right to withdraw their consent, but many changed their mind in the follow-up survey explaining that they should not have the right to withdraw consent. Nearly all of the patients (98%) desired being informed of incidental health findings and explained that the information was useful. Of these, 67.3% of patients preferred that researchers inform them and their doctors of the results. The majority of patients (62.2%) stated that the research institution owns the samples whereas 19.4% stated that the participants owned their samples. Patients had a great deal of trust in doctors, hospitals and government-funded university researchers, moderate levels of trust for provincial governments and industry-funded university researchers, and low levels of trust towards industry and insurance companies.
Conclusions
Many cancer patients surveyed preferred a one-time consent although others desired some form of control. The majority of participants wanted a continuing right to withdraw consent and nearly all wanted to be informed of incidental findings related to their health. Patients had a great deal of trust in their medical professionals and publically-funded researchers as opposed to profit-based industries and insurance companies.
doi:10.1186/1755-8794-6-8
PMCID: PMC3599691  PMID: 23497701
Biobank; Tissue repository; Cancer patient perspectives; Consent; Withdrawal; Anonymity; Incidental findings; Return of results; Ownership; Trust
11.  The effects of ownership and ownership change on nursing home industry costs. 
Health Services Research  1996;31(3):327-346.
OBJECTIVE. This study examines the effects of ownership type and ownership change on nursing home cost structures, differentiating patient care costs from plant costs. DATA SOURCES. Administrative data from the Michigan Department of Social Services, Medical Services Administration (Medicaid), and the Michigan Department of Public Health are used. Cost data are based on audited cost reports for 393 nursing care facilities in Michigan in 1989. Other facility characteristics are based on data from the 1989 annual licensing and certification survey conducted by the Michigan Department of Public Health. STUDY DESIGN. A series of ordinary least squares regressions is estimated, in which the dependent variable is either per diem patient costs or per diem plant costs. Ownership types are defined as chain, proprietary non-chain, freestanding non-profit, government-owned, and hospital-based facilities. Pooled estimation techniques, as well as separate regressions by ownership type, are presented to test for interaction effects. Key variables include whether a facility changed ownership in the preceding five years and whether chain facilities are in-state- or out-of-state-owned, in addition to size, payer mix, and case mix. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS. Behavioral differences among nursing home ownership types in respect to patient care costs tended to distinguish government-owned and hospital-based facilities from the freestanding homes rather than the usual distinction between for-profit and not-for-profit classes. Variables traditionally included in nursing home cost studies, such as size, occupancy, payer mix and case mix, were found to have similar effects on per diem patient care costs for freestanding non-profit homes as well as for chain proprietary facilities. With regard to the effects of ownership change on per diem plant and per diem patient costs, however, there are few differences among ownership types. Chain and non-chain for-profit facilities, non-profit homes, and hospital long-term care units that had changed ownership reported significantly higher per diem plant costs than facilities without a change of ownership, but did not spend more on patient-related costs. Michigan Medicaid plant reimbursement system policy changes instituted in 1985 to promote continued ownership of facilities were not entirely successful. CONCLUSIONS. Non-profit homes look increasingly like their for-profit counterparts with respect to spending on patient care costs. Increased competition for the more lucrative private-pay patients, coupled with declining state Medicaid reimbursement to nursing homes, may have blurred the historical distinctions between the non-profit and for-profit sectors in the nursing home industry. An exception to increasing homogeneity within the nursing home industry is the tendency of proprietary homes to experience more frequent changes of ownership, which results in higher capital costs passed on to state Medicaid programs. Findings from this study indicate that while facility sales increase per diem plant costs, they do not result in increased spending for direct patient care, suggesting that state Medicaid programs may be indirectly subsidizing facility sales with no accompanying increase in expenditures for patient care. To discourage frequent facility sales, state Medicaid programs may need to consider alternative methods of reimbursing nursing home owners for capital costs.
PMCID: PMC1070122  PMID: 8698588
12.  "Who owns your poop?": insights regarding the intersection of human microbiome research and the ELSI aspects of biobanking and related studies 
BMC Medical Genomics  2011;4:72.
Background
While the social, ethical, and legal implications of biobanking and large scale data sharing are already complicated enough, they may be further compounded by research on the human microbiome.
Discussion
The human microbiome is the entire complement of microorganisms that exists in and on every human body. Currently most biobanks focus primarily on human tissues and/or associated data (e.g. health records). Accordingly, most discussions in the social sciences and humanities on these issues are focused (appropriately so) on the implications of biobanks and sharing data derived from human tissues. However, rapid advances in human microbiome research involve collecting large amounts of data on microorganisms that exist in symbiotic relationships with the human body. Currently it is not clear whether these microorganisms should be considered part of or separate from the human body. Arguments can be made for both, but ultimately it seems that the dichotomy of human versus non-human and self versus non-self inevitably breaks down in this context. This situation has the potential to add further complications to debates on biobanking.
Summary
In this paper, we revisit some of the core problem areas of privacy, consent, ownership, return of results, governance, and benefit sharing, and consider how they might be impacted upon by human microbiome research. Some of the issues discussed also have relevance to other forms of microbial research. Discussion of these themes is guided by conceptual analysis of microbiome research and interviews with leading Canadian scientists in the field.
doi:10.1186/1755-8794-4-72
PMCID: PMC3199231  PMID: 21982589
human microbiome; health research; consent; privacy; ownership; return of results; policy; biobanks; ELSI; research ethics
13.  REXIC Project: Retrospective Cross-Sectional Study of Documentation of Informed Consent for Research Biobanking in A Public Research and Teaching Hospital 
Background
The Center for Transfusion Medicine, Cell Therapy and Cryobiology, Milan, Northern Italy, is the headquarter of the POLI-MI biobank. It co-ordinates the biobank activities of the Fondazione Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico of Milan. Such activities require specific safeguarding of donors’ rights and protection of sensitive and genetic data. The Fondazione Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico has set up a project on informed consent with the aim of developing awareness and understanding of this issue. Within this project, it has been decided to evaluate how consent for biobanking material is expressed.
Design and methods
The aim of the study was to evaluate the quality and completeness of consent to biobanking in the POLI-MI biobank. This was a retrospective study carried out in 2012 on samples of consent declarations collected by biobank units in 2011. Some units used a single, standard consent model available from a previous POLI-MI biobank workgroup. Other units used models which had been previouly formulated. Evaluation was made using a form that indicated the essential elements of consent.
Results
A total of 48 consent declarations were collected using the single, standard model and 84 were collected using other models. The consent declarations that used the single, standard model were found to be the most complete and were filled in better than other models.
Conclusions
Progressive adoption of a simple, standard consent model is expected to improve the quality of consent acquisition. Regular audit of the compliance of consent practices with ethical and legal requirements is mandatory to improve the quality of research biobanking.
doi:10.4081/jphr.2013.e10
PMCID: PMC4140325  PMID: 25170481
biobanks; informed consent; ethics; research; public health
14.  Evaluation of clinical trials by Ethics Committees in Germany - Experience of applicants with the review of requests for opinion of the Ethics Committees - results of a survey among members of the German Association of Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (VFA) 
The review of requests for a positive opinion of the ethics committees (application procedure) as a requirement to start a clinical trial in Germany has been completely redesigned with the transposition of EU Directive 2001/20/EC in the 12th Amendment of the German Medicines Act in August 2004. The experience of applicants (sponsors, legal representatives of sponsors in the EU and persons or organizations authorized by the sponsors to make the application, respectively) in terms of interactions with the ethics committees in Germany has been positive overall, especially with respect to ethics committee adherence to the statutory timelines applicable for review of requests. However, inconsistencies between ethics committees exist in terms of the form and content of the requirements for application documents and their evaluation.
With the objective of further improving both the quality of applications and the evaluation of those applications by ethics committees, a survey among members of the German Association of Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (VFA) was conducted from January to April 2008. Based on reasoned opinions issued by the respective ethics committee in charge of the coordinating principal investigator (coordinating ethics committee), the type and frequency of formal and content-related objections to applications according to § 7 of the German Good Clinical Practice (GCP) Regulation were systematically documented, and qualitative and quantitative analyses performed. 21 out of 44 members of the VFA participated in the survey. 288 applications for Phase I–IV studies submitted between January and December 2007 to 40 ethics committees were evaluated.
This survey shows that about one in six applications is incomplete and has formal and/or content objections, respectively, especially those that pertain to documents demonstrating the qualification of the investigator and/or suitability of the facilities. These objections are attributable to some extent to the differing and/or unclear requirements of the individual ethics committees on the content and comprehension of the submission documents. However, applicants also need to pay more attention to the completeness and validity of the submission documents. The majority of content-related objections apply to the patient information and consent documents and study protocols submitted. Applicants on average acted upon only 3 out of 4 objections, for various reasons: the relevant information was already given in the submitted documents, but had not been taken into consideration by the ethics committees; objections were not applicable; objections lacked a legal basis. In such cases the applicants made reference to the specific information already submitted or gave reasons for not acting on the objection. This course of action was accepted by the ethics committees, with few exceptions. The survey sheds light on the existing inconsistencies in the evaluations of applications by the various ethics committees and suggests ways in which the existing constructive dialogue between applicants and ethics committees may provide a basis to further harmonize both the requirements regarding form and content of application documents, and the criteria for evaluation of applications by ethics committees within the legal framework.
doi:10.3205/000066
PMCID: PMC2716553  PMID: 19675747
ethics committees; application procedure; formal and content-related objections; clinical trials
15.  Four phases of checks for exclusion of umbilical cord blood donors 
Blood Transfusion  2011;9(3):286-291.
Aim
The aim of this study was to analyse umbilical cord blood (UCB) collection over 1 year between October 2008 and September 2009, seeking ways to improve the number of suitable banked UCB units. Four phases of the process were investigated, from the consent form to the banking procedure, paying attention to the discarded UCB units.
Material and methods
We recruited couples at 35 weeks of gestation and took an accurate history, focusing on genetic, immunological and infectious diseases. We collected UCB from pregnant women who delivered vaginally or by Caesarean section between the 37–41+6 weeks of gestation. Some units were discarded on the basis of the patients' history, obstetric events or biological criteria. In utero collection was the preferred method of collection.
Results
During the study period, between October 2008 and September 2009, there were 1,477 deliveries in our unit. The number of couples interested in UCB donation was 595 (40.2%-595/1,477). We collected 393 UBC units. We excluded 122 patients at the phase of the history taking, counselling and informed consent (first phase check). Of the 393 units collected, 162 (41.3%) were banked whereas 231 (58.7%) were discarded because they did not fulfil biological criteria (third phase check). The volume of UCB units collected after Caesarean section was greater than the volume of units collected after vaginal delivery (95.4 mL versus 85.0 mL, respectively; p <0.01). The UCB units collected after vaginal delivery contained a higher number of total nucleated cells compared to the units collected after Caesarean section (970x106 cells versus 874x106 cells, respectively; p=0.037). None of the banked UCB units was discarded at the clinical check 6 months after delivery (fourth phase check).
Conclusions
Our study shows that strict observance of each of the checks and the collection strategy is important to guarantee the safety of the UCB units and to maximise the cost-benefit ratio. After the appropriate checks we banked UCB units from only 27.2% (162/595) of the couples who gave consent to the procedure and from only 11% (162/1,477) of all the deliveries in the 12 month study period, as 59.8% of couples were not properly informed about UCB donation.
doi:10.2450/2011.0038-10
PMCID: PMC3136596  PMID: 21627927
cord blood; obstetric factors; stem cells
16.  Who's minding the shop? The role of Canadian research ethics boards in the creation and uses of registries and biobanks 
BMC Medical Ethics  2008;9:17.
Background
The amount of research utilizing health information has increased dramatically over the last ten years. Many institutions have extensive biobank holdings collected over a number of years for clinical and teaching purposes, but are uncertain as to the proper circumstances in which to permit research uses of these samples. Research Ethics Boards (REBs) in Canada and elsewhere in the world are grappling with these issues, but lack clear guidance regarding their role in the creation of and access to registries and biobanks.
Methods
Chairs of 34 REBS and/or REB Administrators affiliated with Faculties of Medicine in Canadian universities were interviewed. Interviews consisted of structured questions dealing with diabetes-related scenarios, with open-ended responses and probing for rationales. The two scenarios involved the development of a diabetes registry using clinical encounter data across several physicians' practices, and the addition of biological samples to the registry to create a biobank.
Results
There was a wide range of responses given for the questions raised in the scenarios, indicating a lack of clarity about the role of REBs in registries and biobanks. With respect to the creation of a registry, a minority of sites felt that consent was not required for the information to be entered into the registry. Whether patient consent was required for information to be entered into the registry and the duration for which the consent would be operative differed across sites. With respect to the creation of a biobank linked to the registry, a majority of sites viewed biobank information as qualitatively different from other types of personal health information. All respondents agreed that patient consent was needed for blood samples to be placed in the biobank but the duration of consent again varied.
Conclusion
Participants were more attuned to issues surrounding biobanks as compared to registries and demonstrated a higher level of concern regarding biobanks. As registries and biobanks expand, there is a need for critical analysis of suitable roles for REBs and subsequent guidance on these topics. The authors conclude by recommending REB participation in the creation of registries and biobanks and the eventual drafting of comprehensive legislation.
doi:10.1186/1472-6939-9-17
PMCID: PMC2636819  PMID: 19014594
17.  A perpetual source of DNA or something really different: ethical issues in the creation of cell lines for African genomics research 
BMC Medical Ethics  2014;15:60.
Background
The rise of genomic studies in Africa – not least due to projects funded under H3Africa – is associated with the development of a small number of biorepositories across Africa. For the ultimate success of these biorepositories, the creation of cell lines including those from selected H3Africa samples would be beneficial. In this paper, we map ethical challenges in the creation of cell lines.
Discussion
The first challenge we identified relates to the moral status of cells living in culture. There is no doubt that cells in culture are alive, and the question is how this characteristic is relevant to ethical decision-making. The second challenge relates to the fact that cells in culture are a source of cell products and mitochondrial DNA. In combination with other technologies, cells in culture could also be used to grow human tissue. Whilst on the one hand, this feature increases the potential utility of the sample and promotes science, on the other it also enables further scientific work that may not have been specifically consented to or approved. The third challenge relates to ownership over samples, particularly in cases where cell lines are created by a biobank, and in a different country than where samples were collected. Relevant questions here concern the export of samples, approval of secondary use and the acceptability of commercialisation. A fourth challenge relates to perceptions of blood and bodily integrity, which may be particularly relevant for African research participants from certain cultures or backgrounds. Finally, we discuss challenges around informed consent and ethical review.
Summary
In this paper, we sought to map the myriad of ethical challenges that need to be considered prior to making cell line creation a reality in the H3Africa project. Considering the relative novelty of this practice in Africa, such challenges will need to be considered, discussed and potentially be resolved before cell line creation in Africa becomes financially feasible and sustainable. We suggest that discussions need to be undertaken between stakeholders internationally, considering the international character of the H3Africa project. We also map out avenues for empirical research.
doi:10.1186/1472-6939-15-60
PMCID: PMC4134117  PMID: 25104115
Cell lines; H3Africa; Africa; Ethics; Consent; Sample ownership; Immortalisation
18.  Guidelines, Editors, Pharma And The Biological Paradigm Shift 
Mens Sana Monographs  2007;5(1):27-30.
Private investment in biomedical research has increased over the last few decades. At most places it has been welcomed as the next best thing to technology itself. Much of the intellectual talent from academic institutions is getting absorbed in lucrative positions in industry. Applied research finds willing collaborators in venture capital funded industry, so a symbiotic growth is ensured for both.
There are significant costs involved too. As academia interacts with industry, major areas of conflict of interest especially applicable to biomedical research have arisen. They are related to disputes over patents and royalty, hostile encounters between academia and industry, as also between public and private enterprise, legal tangles, research misconduct of various types, antagonistic press and patient-advocate lobbies and a general atmosphere in which commercial interest get precedence over patient welfare.
Pharma image stinks because of a number of errors of omission and commission. A recent example is suppression of negative findings about Bayer's Trasylol (Aprotinin) and the marketing maneuvers of Eli Lilly's Xigris (rhAPC). Whenever there is a conflict between patient vulnerability and profit motives, pharma often tends to tilt towards the latter. Moreover there are documents that bring to light how companies frequently cross the line between patient welfare and profit seeking behaviour.
A voluntary moratorium over pharma spending to pamper drug prescribers is necessary. A code of conduct adopted recently by OPPI in India to limit pharma company expenses over junkets and trinkets is a welcome step.
Clinical practice guidelines (CPG) are considered important as they guide the diagnostic/therapeutic regimen of a large number of medical professionals and hospitals and provide recommendations on drugs, their dosages and criteria for selection. Along with clinical trials, they are another area of growing influence by the pharmaceutical industry. For example, in a relatively recent survey of 2002, it was found that about 60% of 192 authors of clinical practice guidelines reported they had financial connections with the companies whose drugs were under consideration. There is a strong case for making CPGs based not just on effectivity but cost effectivity. The various ramifications of this need to be spelt out. Work of bodies like the Appraisal of Guidelines Research and Evaluation (AGREE) Collaboration and Guidelines Advisory Committee (GAC) are also worth a close look.
Even the actions of Foundations that work for disease amelioration have come under scrutiny. The process of setting up ‘Best Practices’ Guidelines for interactions between the pharmaceutical industry and clinicians has already begun and can have important consequences for patient care. Similarly, Good Publication Practice (GPP) for pharmaceutical companies have also been set up aimed at improving the behaviour of drug companies while reporting drug trials
The rapidly increasing trend toward influence and control by industry has become a concern for many. It is of such importance that the Association of American Medical Colleges has issued two relatively new documents - one, in 2001, on how to deal with individual conflicts of interest; and the other, in 2002, on how to deal with institutional conflicts of interest in the conduct of clinical research. Academic Medical Centers (AMCs), as also medical education and research institutions at other places, have to adopt means that minimize their conflicts of interest.
Both medical associations and research journal editors are getting concerned with individual and institutional conflicts of interest in the conduct of clinical research and documents are now available which address these issues. The 2001 ICMJE revision calls for full disclosure of the sponsor's role in research, as well as assurance that the investigators are independent of the sponsor, are fully accountable for the design and conduct of the trial, have independent access to all trial data and control all editorial and publication decisions. However the findings of a 2002 study suggest that academic institutions routinely participate in clinical research that does not adhere to ICMJE standards of accountability, access to data and control of publication.
There is an inevitable slant to produce not necessarily useful but marketable products which ensure the profitability of industry and research grants outflow to academia. Industry supports new, not traditional, therapies, irrespective of what is effective. Whatever traditional therapy is supported is most probably because the company concerned has a product with a big stake there, which has remained a ‘gold standard’ or which that player thinks has still some ‘juice’ left.
Industry sponsorship is mainly for potential medications, not for trying to determine whether there may be non-pharmacological interventions that may be equally good, if not better. In the paradigm shift towards biological psychiatry, the role of industry sponsorship is not overt but probably more pervasive than many have realised, or the right thinking may consider good, for the health of the branch in the long run.
An issue of major concern is protection of the interests of research subjects. Patients agree to become research subjects not only for personal medical benefit but, as an extension, to benefit the rest of the patient population and also advance medical research.
We all accept that industry profits have to be made, and investment in research and development by the pharma industry is massive. However, we must also accept there is a fundamental difference between marketing strategies for other entities and those for drugs.
The ultimate barometer is patient welfare and no drug that compromises it can stand the test of time. So, how does it make even commercial sense in the long term to market substandard products? The greatest mistake long-term players in industry may make is try to adopt the shady techniques of the upstart new entrant. Secrecy of marketing/sales tactics, of the process of manufacture, of other strategies and plans of business expansion, of strategies to tackle competition are fine business tactics. But it is critical that secrecy as a tactic not extend to reporting of research findings, especially those contrary to one's product.
Pharma has no option but to make a quality product, do comprehensive adverse reaction profiles, and market it only if it passes both tests.
Why does pharma adopt questionable tactics? The reasons are essentially two:
What with all the constraints, a drug comes to the pharmacy after huge investments. There are crippling overheads and infrastructure costs to be recovered. And there are massive profit margins to be maintained. If these were to be dependent only on genuine drug discoveries, that would be taking too great a risk.Industry players have to strike the right balance between profit making and credibility. In profit making, the marketing champions play their role. In credibility ratings, researchers and paid spokes-persons play their role. All is hunky dory till marketing is based on credibility. When there is nothing available to make for credibility, something is projected as one and marketing carried out, in the calculated hope that profits can accrue, since profit making must continue endlessly. That is what makes pharma adopt even questionable means to make profits.
Essentially, there are four types of drugs. First, drugs that work and have minimal side-effects; second, drugs which work but have serious side-effects; third, drugs that do not work and have minimal side-effects; and fourth, drugs which work minimally but have serious side-effects. It is the second and fourth types that create major hassles for industry. Often, industry may try to project the fourth type as the second to escape censure.
The major cat and mouse game being played by conscientious researchers is in exposing the third and fourth for what they are and not allowing industry to palm them off as the first and second type respectively. The other major game is in preventing the second type from being projected as the first. The third type are essentially harmless, so they attract censure all right and some merriment at the antics to market them. But they escape anything more than a light rap on the knuckles, except when they are projected as the first type.
What is necessary for industry captains and long-term players is to realise:
Their major propelling force can only be producing the first type. 2. They accept the second type only till they can lay their hands on the first. 3. The third type can be occasionally played around with to shore up profits, but never by projecting them as the first type. 4. The fourth type are the laggards, real threat to credibility and therefore do not deserve any market hype or promotion.
In finding out why most pharma indulges in questionable tactics, we are lead to some interesting solutions to prevent such tactics with the least amount of hassles for all concerned, even as both profits and credibility are kept intact.
doi:10.4103/0973-1229.32176
PMCID: PMC3192391  PMID: 22058616
Academia; Pharmaceutical Industry; Clinical Practice Guidelines; Best Practice Guidelines; Academic Medical Centers; Medical Associations; Research Journals; Clinical Research; Public Welfare; Pharma Image; Corporate Welfare; Biological Psychiatry; Law Suits Against Industry
19.  Organ Transplantation: Legal, Ethical and Islamic Perspective in Nigeria 
Organ transplantation dates back to the ancient times and since then it has become one of the important developments in modern medicine; saving the lives, as well as improving the quality of life of many patients. As the demand for organ transplantation far exceeds the organ availability, the transplant program is often saddled with complex legal and ethical issues. This review article highlights the legal and ethical issues that might arise regarding organ transplantation and appraises the existing legal frame work governing organ transplantation in Nigeria. Information on legal, cultural, religious and medical ethical issues regarding organ transplantation in Nigeria was obtained by searching the PubMed and Google Scholar, conference proceedings, seminar paper presentations, law library and other related publications were collated and analyzed. In decision making for organ transplantation, the bioethical principles like autonomy, beneficence and justice must be employed. It was believed by Catholic theologians that to mutilate one living person to benefit another violates the principle of Totality. Among Muslim scholars and researchers, there are those who throw legal support as to its permissibility while the other group sees it as illegal. Organ/tissues transplantation is considered a medical intervention that touches on the fundamental rights of the donor or the recipient. Where there is an unlawful infringement of the right of such persons in any way may be regarded as against Section 34 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution dealing with right to dignity of the human person. Worldwide, the researchers and government bodies have agreed on informed consent for organ/tissue donation and for recipient should be obtained without coercion before embarking on such medical treatment Worldwide organ transplantation has become the best medical treatment for patients with end stage organ failure. However, there is no law/legislation backing organ/tissues transplantation in Nigeria. The government should take measures to combat transplantation tourism and the problem of national and international trafficking in human tissues and organs, ethics commission and National Transplant registry should be established in order to monitor and regulate the programme in the country.
doi:10.4103/1117-6806.103103
PMCID: PMC3762001  PMID: 24027394
Ethical; Islamic perspective; legal; Nigeria; organ transplantation
20.  Extensive Neuronal Differentiation of Human Neural Stem Cell Grafts in Adult Rat Spinal Cord 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(2):e39.
Background
Effective treatments for degenerative and traumatic diseases of the nervous system are not currently available. The support or replacement of injured neurons with neural grafts, already an established approach in experimental therapeutics, has been recently invigorated with the addition of neural and embryonic stem-derived precursors as inexhaustible, self-propagating alternatives to fetal tissues. The adult spinal cord, i.e., the site of common devastating injuries and motor neuron disease, has been an especially challenging target for stem cell therapies. In most cases, neural stem cell (NSC) transplants have shown either poor differentiation or a preferential choice of glial lineages.
Methods and Findings
In the present investigation, we grafted NSCs from human fetal spinal cord grown in monolayer into the lumbar cord of normal or injured adult nude rats and observed large-scale differentiation of these cells into neurons that formed axons and synapses and established extensive contacts with host motor neurons. Spinal cord microenvironment appeared to influence fate choice, with centrally located cells taking on a predominant neuronal path, and cells located under the pia membrane persisting as NSCs or presenting with astrocytic phenotypes. Slightly fewer than one-tenth of grafted neurons differentiated into oligodendrocytes. The presence of lesions increased the frequency of astrocytic phenotypes in the white matter.
Conclusions
NSC grafts can show substantial neuronal differentiation in the normal and injured adult spinal cord with good potential of integration into host neural circuits. In view of recent similar findings from other laboratories, the extent of neuronal differentiation observed here disputes the notion of a spinal cord that is constitutively unfavorable to neuronal repair. Restoration of spinal cord circuitry in traumatic and degenerative diseases may be more realistic than previously thought, although major challenges remain, especially with respect to the establishment of neuromuscular connections.
When neural stem cells from human fetal spinal cord were grafted into the lumbar cord of normal or injured adult nude rats, substantial neuronal differentiation was found.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Every year, spinal cord injuries, many caused by road traffic accidents, paralyze about 11,000 people in the US. This paralysis occurs because the spinal cord is the main communication highway between the body and the brain. Information from the skin and other sensory organs is transmitted to the brain along the spinal cord by bundles of neurons, nervous system cells that transmit and receive messages. The brain then sends information back down the spinal cord to control movement, breathing, and other bodily functions. The bones of the spine normally protect the spinal cord but, if these are broken or dislocated, the spinal cord can be cut or compressed, which interrupts the information flow. Damage near the top of the spinal cord can paralyze the arms and legs (tetraplegia); damage lower down paralyzes the legs only (paraplegia). Spinal cord injuries also cause many other medical problems, including the loss of bowel and bladder control. Although the deleterious effects of spinal cord injuries can be minimized by quickly immobilizing the patient and using drugs to reduce inflammation, the damaged nerve fibers never regrow. Consequently, spinal cord injury is permanent.
Why Was This Study Done?
Scientists are currently searching for ways to reverse spinal cord damage. One potential approach is to replace the damaged neurons using neural stem cells (NSCs). These cells, which can be isolated from embryos and from some areas of the adult nervous system, are able to develop into all the specialized cells types of the nervous system. However, because most attempts to repair spinal cord damage with NSC transplants have been unsuccessful, many scientists believe that the environment of the spinal cord is unsuitable for nerve regeneration. In this study, the researchers have investigated what happens to NSCs derived from the spinal cord of a human fetus after transplantation into the spinal cord of adult rats.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers injected human NSCs that they had grown in dishes into the spinal cord of intact nude rats (animals that lack a functioning immune system and so do not destroy human cells) and into nude rats whose spinal cord had been damaged at the transplantation site. The survival and fate of the transplanted cells was assessed by staining thin slices of spinal cord with an antibody that binds to a human-specific protein and with antibodies that recognize proteins specific to NSCs, neurons, or other nervous system cells. The researchers report that the human cells survived well in the adult spinal cord of the injured and normal rats and migrated into the gray matter of the spinal cord (which contains neuronal cell bodies) and into the white matter (which contains the long extensions of nerve cells that carry nerve impulses). 75% and 60% of the human cells in the gray and white matter, respectively, contained a neuron-specific protein six months after transplantation but only 10% of those in the membrane surrounding the spinal cord became neurons; the rest developed into astrocytes (another nervous system cell type) or remained as stem cells. Finally, many of the human-derived neurons made the neurotransmitter GABA (one of the chemicals that transfers messages between neurons) and made contacts with host spinal cord neurons.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that human NSC grafts can, after all, develop into neurons (predominantly GABA-producing neurons) in normal and injured adult spinal cord and integrate into the existing spinal cord if the conditions are right. Although these animal experiments suggest that NSC transplants might help people with spinal injuries, they have some important limitations. For example, the spinal cord lesions used here are mild and unlike those seen in human patients. This and the use of nude rats might have reduced the scarring in the damaged spinal cord that is often a major barrier to nerve regeneration. Furthermore, the researchers did not test whether NSC transplants provide functional improvements after spinal cord injury. However, since other researchers have also recently reported that NSCs can grow and develop into neurons in injured adult spinal cord, these new results further strengthen hopes it might eventually be possible to use human NSCs to repair damaged spinal cords.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040039.
The US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke provides information on spinal cord injury and current spinal cord research
Spinal Research (a UK charity) offers information on spinal cord injury and repair
The US National Spinal Cord Injury Association Web site contains factsheets on spinal cord injuries
MedlinePlus encyclopedia has pages on spinal cord trauma and interactive tutorials on spinal cord injury
The International Society for Stem Cell Research offers information on all sorts of stem cells including NSCs
The US National Human Neural Stem Cell Resource provides information on human NSCs, including the current US government's stance on stem cell research
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040039
PMCID: PMC1796906  PMID: 17298165
21.  Ethical aspects of human biobanks: a systematic review 
Croatian Medical Journal  2011;52(3):262-279.
Aim
To systematically assess the existing literature on ethical aspects of human biobanks.
Method
We searched the Web of Science and PubMed databases to find studies addressing ethical problems in biobanks with no limits set (study design, study population, time period, or language of publication). All identified articles published until November 2010 were included. We analyzed the type of published articles, journals publishing them, involvement of countries/institutions, year of publication, and citations received, and qualitatively assessed every article in order to identify ethical issues addressed by the majority of published research on human biobanking.
Results
Hundred and fifty four studies satisfied our review criteria. The studies mainly came from highly developed countries and were all published in the last two decades, with over half of them published in 2009 or 2010. They most commonly discussed the informed consent, privacy and identifiability, return of results to participants, importance of public trust, involvement of children, commercialization, the role of ethics boards, international data exchange, ownership of samples, and benefit sharing.
Conclusions
The focus on ethical aspects is strongly present through the whole biobanking research field. Although there is a consensus on the old and most typical ethical issues, with further development of the field and increasingly complex structure of human biobanks, these issues will likely continue to arise and accumulate, hence requiring constant re-appraisal and continuing discussion.
doi:10.3325/cmj.2011.52.262
PMCID: PMC3118708  PMID: 21674823
22.  Determining the status of non-transferred embryos in Ireland: a conspectus of case law and implications for clinical IVF practice 
The development of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) as a treatment for human infertilty was among the most controversial medical achievements of the modern era. In Ireland, the fate and status of supranumary (non-transferred) embryos derived from IVF brings challenges both for clinical practice and public health policy because there is no judicial or legislative framework in place to address the medical, scientific, or ethical uncertainties. Complex legal issues exist regarding informed consent and ownership of embryos, particularly the use of non-transferred embryos if a couple separates or divorces. But since case law is only beginning to emerge from outside Ireland and because legislation on IVF and human embryo status is entirely absent here, this matter is poised to raise contractual, constitutional and property law issues at the highest level. Our analysis examines this medico-legal challenge in an Irish context, and summarises key decisions on this issue rendered from other jurisdictions. The contractual issues raised by the Roche case regarding informed consent and the implications the initial judgment may have for future disputes over embryos are also discussed. Our research also considers a putative Constitutional 'right to procreate' and the implications EU law may have for an Irish case concerning the fate of frozen embryos. Since current Medical Council guidelines are insufficient to ensure appropriate regulation of the advanced reproductive technologies in Ireland, the report of the Commission on Assisted Human Reproduction is most likely to influence embryo custody disputes. Public policy requires the establishment and implementation of a more comprehensive legislative framework within which assisted reproductive medical services are offered.
doi:10.1186/1747-5341-4-8
PMCID: PMC2714322  PMID: 19589140
23.  Specimen Collection for Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Research: Harmonizing the Approach to Informed Consent 
Prospective donation of tissue specimens for induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) research requires an approach to informed consent that is constructed for this context. Approaches to informed consent have been variable in ways that threaten the simultaneous goals of protecting donors and safeguarding future research and translation, and investigators are seeking guidance. This analysis addresses this need by providing concrete recommendations for informed consent that balance the goals of iPSC and regenerative medicine researchers with the interests of individual research participants.
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have elicited excitement in both the scientific and ethics communities for their potential to advance basic and translational research. They have been hailed as an alternative to derivation from embryos that provides a virtually unlimited source of pluripotent stem cells for research and therapeutic applications. However, research with iPSCs is ethically complex, uniquely encompassing the concerns associated with genomics, immortalized cell lines, transplantation, human reproduction, and biobanking. Prospective donation of tissue specimens for iPSC research thus requires an approach to informed consent that is constructed for this context. Even in the nascent stages of this field, approaches to informed consent have been variable in ways that threaten the simultaneous goals of protecting donors and safeguarding future research and translation, and investigators are seeking guidance. We address this need by providing concrete recommendations for informed consent that balance the perspectives of a variety of stakeholders. Our work combines analysis of consent form language collected from investigators worldwide with a conceptual balancing of normative ethical concerns, policy precedents, and scientific realities. Our framework asks people to consent prospectively to a broad umbrella of foreseeable research, including future therapeutic applications, with recontact possible in limited circumstances. We argue that the long-term goals of regenerative medicine, interest in sharing iPSC lines, and uncertain landscape of future research all would be served by a framework of ongoing communication with donors. Our approach balances the goals of iPSC and regenerative medicine researchers with the interests of individual research participants.
doi:10.5966/sctm.2012-0029
PMCID: PMC3659701  PMID: 23197820
Clinical translation; Ethics; iPS; Induced pluripotent stem cells
24.  Legal and ethical issues in the international transaction of donor sperm and eggs 
Pertinent ethical and legal issues in the international transaction of donor sperm and eggs are discussed. Firstly, there may be legislative and ethical “contradiction” by the local health authority in permitting import of donor gametes, due to varying policies on donor reimbursement in different countries. This is particularly significant in countries where the underlying principle of gamete donation is altruistic motivation, and where reimbursement is given only for direct “out-of-pocket” expenses i.e. traveling costs. Secondly, there is a lack of clear and coherent internationally-binding legislation and regulatory guidelines overseeing the exchange of donor gametes across international borders. In particular, provisions should be made for donor traceability if gametes are sourced from abroad. Thirdly, in the case of “frozen-egg donation” from abroad, patients must rightfully be informed that current cryopreservation technology is still sub-optimal, and all studies have consistently shown that the chances of conception are always lower with “frozen-eggs” compared to freshly-retrieved eggs. Finally, regulatory safeguards should be put in place to prevent fertility clinics and medical professionals from “re-selling” imported donor gametes at a profit to the patient, since it would be thoroughly unprofessional for them to earn a profit simply through the ‘brokerage’ of donated human material.
doi:10.1007/s10815-007-9107-z
PMCID: PMC3455062  PMID: 17450429
Eggs; Ethics; Export; Gametes; Import; Legal; Sperm
25.  Biobank research and ethics: the problem of informed consent in Polish biobanks 
Introduction
The dynamic development of biobanks causes some ethical, social, and legal problems. The most discussed problems are obtaining informed consent, especially for future research, from minors and from deceased people. The aim of this article is to present the current standards held by Polish biobanks concerning obtaining a participant's informed consent in some aspects.
Material and methods
Survey was carried out by anonymous questionnaire among 59 institutions which deal with the collecting and storage of human cells and tissues in the year 2008. Twenty four filled-in copies of the questionnaires were sent back (return=41%).
Results
Almost every institution (92%) obtains written consent, but a third of the surveyed institutions (29%) do not obtain consent for the future use of the samples. The majority of the respondents (83%) support the idea of using biological materials for research purposes of a donor who died if he did not leave any written objection to such practices and 46% of respondents stated that biobanks should obtain the consent from the already mature donor who gave their samples as a child.
Conclusions
The practice and rules for obtaining informed consent for the scientific research require improvement. The possibility to use the human materials in the future, conditions for getting access to the data, the possibility of their withdrawal from the database and using the materials and data after the death of the donor should be clearly determined when the informed consent to collect the material is obtained.
doi:10.5114/aoms.2011.25568
PMCID: PMC3258806  PMID: 22291838
biobanks; research ethics; informed consent; genetic collection; management

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