Dr. Kyle Brothers is working on a grant from the National Human Genome Institute to answer a bioethical question about who owns blood or urine samples for research.
Dr. Kyle Brothers is working on a grant from the National Human Genome Institute to answer a bioethical question about who owns blood or urine samples for research.

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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Mark Hebert

Following a 28-year career as a radio and television reporter, Mark Hebert joined the University of Louisville as the Director of Media Relations in 2009, serving as the main spokesperson. In 2015, Mark was named Director of Programming and Production. He’s now producing and hosting a radio show about “all things UofL”, overseeing the university’s video and TV productions and promoting UofL’s research operation. Mark is best known for his 22 years as the political and investigative reporter for WHAS-TV in Louisville where he won numerous awards for breaking stories, exposing corruption and objectively covering Kentucky politics. In 2014, Mark was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame.