Researcher argues moral duty of participation in biobank research

Sep 20, 2012 by Linda Koffmar

We all need medical advances. Biobank research can benefit both current and future patients, but it requires participants. So what can we do to promote research? On October 6, Joanna Stjernschantz Forsberg from the Centre for Research Ethics & Bioethics at Uppsala University, will defend her PhD thesis "Biobank Research: Individual Rights and Public Benefit." In the thesis she suggests that research using stored tissue samples and data should be thought of as a natural component of healthcare, rather than something dangerous and exceptional that people must be protected from.

"The starting point is often that regulations are needed to protect individuals from the risks involved in medical research, but it is important to remember that hindering research is also risky," Joanna Stjernschantz Forsberg says.

According to Ms. Forsberg, the risks you are subjected to as a participant in biobank research differ significantly from the risks you take when you participate in many other kinds of medical research.

"We all have an interest in good and effective healthcare. We do not know in advance what kind of medical care we, or those we care about, will need. This is why research that involves minimal should be endorsed and facilitated."

In her thesis, she concludes that the moral duty to contribute to research means accepting that stored samples and data are used in research. This duty can be thought of as a social contract based in self-interest:

"We cannot reject it by appealing to the primacy of individual rights over the public good, simply because there is no need for arguments based on societal benefit."

Explore further: Color and texture matter most when it comes to tomatoes

More information: Stjernschantz Forsberg, J, Biobank Research: Individual Rights and Public Benefit, doctoral thesis, Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2012.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

UK Biobank opens to researchers

Mar 30, 2012

A unique data resource of the health and lifestyles of half a million Britons - including 26 000 people with diabetes and 50 000 with joint disorders, 41 000 teetotallers, and 11 000 ...

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 ...

Europe tackles ethics of biobanks

Jun 20, 2012

Collections of human biological samples used in medical research should be governed by clear rules that safeguard ethics while advancing knowledge, scientists said Wednesday at a Council of Europe symposium.

Recommended for you

Color and texture matter most when it comes to tomatoes

Oct 21, 2014

A new study in the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), evaluated consumers' choice in fresh tomato selection and revealed which characteristics make the red fruit most appealing.

How the lotus got its own administration

Oct 21, 2014

Actually the lotus is a very ordinary plant. Nevertheless, during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) a complex bureaucratic structure was built up around this plant. The lotus was part of the Imperial Household, ...

What labels on textiles can tell us about society

Oct 21, 2014

Throughout Chinese history, dynastic states used labels on textiles to spread information on the maker, the commissioner, the owner or the date and site of production. Silks produced in state-owned manufacture ...

US company sells out of Ebola toys

Oct 17, 2014

They might look tasteless, but satisfied customers dub them cute and adorable. Ebola-themed toys have proved such a hit that one US-based company has sold out.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

rwinners
not rated yet Sep 20, 2012
My unique biology is mine.

And having lived with it for 6 decades, I seriously doubt it would be of any positive value to humanity.