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Maintaining respect and fairness in the usage of stored shared specimens

Bmc Medical Ethics, 2013 Dec 19, Vol.14 Suppl 1 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

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  • Title:
    Maintaining respect and fairness in the usage of stored shared specimens
  • Author: Mduluza, T ; Midzi, N ; Duruza, D ; Ndebele, P
  • Found In: Bmc Medical Ethics, 2013 Dec 19, Vol.14 Suppl 1 [Peer Reviewed Journal]
  • Subjects: Zimbabwe ; Developing Countries–Ldcs ; Studies ; Medical Research ; Human Rights ; Councils ; Industrialized Nations ; Health Sciences
  • Language: English
  • Description: Doc number: S7 Abstract Background: Every year, research specimens are shipped from one institution to another as well as across national boundaries. A significant proportion of specimens move from poor to rich countries. Concerns are always raised on the future usage of the stored specimens shipped to research insitutions from developing countries. Creating awareness of the processes is required in all sectors involved in biomedical research. To maintain fairness and respect in sharing biomedical specimens and reserch products requires safeguarding by Ethics Review Committees in both provider and recepient institutions. Training in basic ethical principles in research is required to all sectors involved in biomedical research so as to level up the research playing field. Discussion: By agreeing to provide specimens, individuals and communities from whom samples are collected would have placed their trust and all ensuing up-keep of the specimens to the researchers. In most collaborative set-up, laid down material transfer agreements are negotiated and signed before the shipment of specimens. Researchers, research ethics committees (RECs) and institutions in the countries of origin are supposed to serve as overseers of the specimens. There is need to advocate for honesty in sample handling and sharing, and also need to oversee any written commitments by researchers, RECs and institutions at source as well as in recipient institution. Commitments from source RECs and Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) and in the receiving institution on overseeing the future usage of stored specimens are required; including the ultimate confirmation abiding by the agreement. Training in ethical issues pertaining to sample handling and biomedical research in general is essential at all levels of academic pursuit. While sharing of biological specimens and research data demands honesty and oversight by ethical regulatory agents from both institutions in developing country and recepient institutions in developed countries. Concluding summary: Archiving of biological specimens requires reconsideration for the future of biomedical findings and scientific break-throughs. Biomedical ethical regulations still need to established clear viable regulations that have vision for the future of science through shared and archived samples. This discussion covers and proposes essential points that need to be considered in view of future generations and scientific break-throughs. The discussion is based on the experience of working in resource-limited settings, the local regulatory laws and the need to refine research regulations governing sharing and storage of specimens for the future of science.
  • Identifier: ISSN: 1472-6939 ; DOI: 10.1186/1472-6939-14-S1-S7

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