Public perceptions of donating tissue samples for research
Medical research is essential to improve our understanding of what keeps us healthy and how diseases start and progress. It also means scientists can develop new and improved treatments. The collection and use of human tissues samples is tightly governed by law in the UK. Samples may be collected by a researcher and used immediately, or they may be collected for research purposes and stored in a biobank. Biobank follows regulations and hold licenses, granted by the Human Tissue Authority (a UK Government organisation), to be able to store human tissue samples for research, and these systems ensure that any research respects the privacy of the people who donated the samples and that the research is of benefit to society.
We worked with the STRATUM project (Strategic Tissue Repository Alliance through Unified Methods) to investigate and address the insufficient numbers of human tissue samples of adequate quality and with associated clinical data to enable efficient biomedical research across the research and development chain in the UK. We have published two papers examining public views towards consent and the donation of human tissue samples for biomedical research.
Lewis C, Clotworthy M, Hilton S, Magee C, Robertson MJ, Stubbins LJ, Corfield J. Consent for the use of human biological samples for biomedical research: a mixed methods study exploring the UK public’s preferences. BMJ Open 2013;3:e003022open access
Lewis C, Clotworthy M, Hilton S, Magee C, Robertson MJ, Stubbins LJ, Corfield J. Public views on the donation and use of human biological samples in biomedical research: a mixed methods study. BMJ Open 2013;3:e003022open access