Friday, January 20, 2017

Scientists Needn't Get A Patient's Consent To Study Blood Or DNA; NPR, 1/18/17

Rob Stein, NPR; 

Scientists Needn't Get A Patient's Consent To Study Blood Or DNA

"The Obama administration has dropped a controversial proposal that would have required all federally funded scientists to get permission from patients before using their cells, blood, tissue or DNA for research.

The proposal was eliminated from the final revision of the Common Rule, which was published in the Federal Register Wednesday. The rule is a complex set of regulations designed to make sure federally funded research on human subjects is conducted ethically. The revision to the regulations, set to go into effect in 2018, marks the first time the rule has been updated in 26 years.

The initial proposal that researchers be required to get permission before using a patient's tissue sample for research came out of the desire to avoid repeating what happened to Henrietta Lacks, an American who died of cervical cancer in 1951. Some of the cells from Lacks' cancer were kept alive for decades, used in research and for commercial purposes without her consent or her family's knowledge.

But scientists have argued that the mandate for consent in the initial Obama proposal was unnecessary and would hinder crucial research...

The final decision was welcomed by scientists and universities."

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