Ethics in Tissue Procurement

Many studies have been conducted to analyze ethics in research studies, but there isn’t much information on how researchers consider the ethics of their own studies.Questionable practices in human biomedical research have initiated a need for international regulations such as the Nuremberg Code in 1947 and the Declaration of Helsinki in 1964. The primary concern for most ethics committees is the informed consent process.

A study was conducted by BMC Medical Ethics that collected data from applications received by the official regional ethics committee in the Hospital District of Northern Savor from 2004-2009. The data was composed of 56 research studies that involve tissue other than blood. BMC analyzed the ethics of these studies based upon the statements researchers submitted to the ethics committee. The themes of focus were recruitment, informed consent, risks and benefits, confidentiality and societal meaning.

Most of the ethics statements submitted to the ethics committees lacked moral justification of the studies. Even though the Ethics Committee requires an application in order for researchers to conduct studies, many of the applications did not include considerations of recruitment, informed consent and confidentiality. As biomedicine continues its rapid growth, it is important that their be more continuing education in research ethics. Scientists should have an ongoing dialogue with society to help them recognize and consider those perspectives on ethics when conducting research.