Who owns your blood once you give permission to use it for research? That is the bioethical question a UofL researcher is working on with the help of a 3-year grant from the National Human Genome Institute.
Dr. Kyle Brothers found no universal policies or standards on how researchers seek permission to use patients’ blood or urine samples OR the rules for sharing those samples with other researchers.
“We’re studying the ethical, legal and regulatory issues that come up in biorepositories which is collecting samples for research purposes,” Brothers said. “How do we ensure we’re keeping the promises we made to each person who donated their samples for research?”
UofL has more than 10,000 blood samples stores in its biorepository freezers, many of them from the patients of UofL doctors who gave permission to their doctor to use it in his or her research.
So what happens when a researcher from another university wants to use it for different research? Does that researcher need to get new permissions? Could stricter rules stifle medical research? Dr. Brothers is working on it.
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