Custodianship as an ethical framework for biospecimen-based research

Rihab Yassin, Nicole Lockhart, Mariana González Del Riego, Karen Pitt, Jeffrey W. Thomas, Linda Weiss, Carolyn Compton

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

Human biological specimens (biospecimens) are increasingly important for research that aims to advance human health. Yet, despite significant proliferation in specimen-based research and discoveries during the past decade, research remains challenged by the inequitable access to high-quality biospecimens that are collected under rigorous ethical standards. This is primarily caused by the complex level of control and ownership exerted by the myriad of stakeholders involved in the biospecimen research process. This article discusses the ethical model of custodianship as a framework for biospecimen-based research to promote fair research access and resolve issues of control and potential conflicts between biobanks, investigators, human research participants (human subjects), and sponsors. Custodianship is the caretaking obligation for biospecimens from initial collection to final dissemination of research findings. It endorses key practices and operating principles for responsible oversight of biospecimens collected for research. Embracing the custodial model would ensure transparency in research, fairness to human research participants, and shared accountability among all stakeholders involved in biospecimen-based research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1012-1015
Number of pages4
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology

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