Is informed consent threatening biobank research?

Having to obtain informed consent for the use of left-over human tissue samples could be hampering essential biobank research says a research group on BMJ.com today.

Joanna Stjernschantz Forsberg and colleagues at Uppsala University in Sweden, argue that the requirement for informed consent for biobank research is problematic for two main reasons. First, it consumes resources that could be directed towards more research or healthcare, and second, it imposes a risk of selection bias.

According to the authors, are abandoned because is deemed "too logistically difficult" to obtain. They also say the of research results could be adversely affected by the need to obtain consent. They explain that this is because "there are significant differences between individuals who consent to participating in biobank research and those who do not."

They argue that a way forward would be to adopt polices of broad, presumed or no consent for research on leftover human tissue material. However, they say even the least controversial of these proposals - broad consent - has been criticised because it threatens patient autonomy.

The authors believe that the time has come for individuals to acknowledge that, in order to further their own interests, they must sometimes accept inclusion in common endeavours. They say that "as individuals living together in a society we limit our freedom in many ways in order to achieve common goals."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Public prefers limited informed consent process for biobanks

Jun 29, 2011

Biobanks are repositories for tissue samples, usually in the form of blood or saliva or leftover tissue from surgical procedures. These samples are collected and used for future research, including genetic research. They ...

Intimate examinations should not be performed without consent

Jun 20, 2008

[B]Editorial: Informed consent and intimate examinations[/B] Intimate examinations, performed by medical students on anaesthetised patients, are often carried out without adequate consent from patients, but this violates the ...

Consent forms for research: Have they improved in 25 years?

May 28, 2010

The consent forms that people sign before participating in research are widely considered difficult to understand and sometimes inaccurate. The lack of clarity was implicated in a high-profile legal settlement in April between ...

Recommended for you

New MCAT shifts focus, will include humanities

Oct 20, 2014

(HealthDay)—The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) has been revised, and the latest changes, including more humanities such as social sciences, are due to be implemented next April, according to a report ...

Using feminist theory to understand male rape

Oct 20, 2014

Decades of feminist research have framed rape and sexual assault as a 'women's issue', leaving little room for the experiences of male victims. But a new study published in the Journal of Gender Studies suggests that feminist ...

User comments