Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Children, Biobanks and Consent

In a recent policy forum published in the Science, ethicists argue in favor of a policy to recontact children once they reach "the age of consent" to seek permission for continued research on their DNA samples and data. The authors would make an exception for children with samples in disease-specific biobanks. As they see it, the therapeutic benefits of participation in the disease-specific biobank outweigh the risks to subject. While the authors acknowledge the difficulty of maintaining an active biobank while tracking samples and relocating subjects for adult consent, they point to the "long-term benefits of maintaining public trust in biomedical research".

In a related news story, Mats Hansson of Uppsala University in Sweden, Karen Maschke, of the Hastings Center, Ronald Green, director of the Ethics Institute at Dartmouth College, and other ethicists comment on the Science policy forum; see: Child DNA donors should have their say.


Gurwitz D, Fortier I, Lunshof JE, Knoppers BM. Research ethics. Children and population biobanks. Science. 2009 Aug 14;325(5942):818-9. PMID: 19679798.

Dolgin E. Child DNA donors should have their say. Nature News. August 13, 2009. doi:10.1038/news.2009.819.

Other Predictive Health Ethics News

Ameer B, Krivoy N. Direct-to-Consumer/Patient Advertising of Genetic Testing: A Position Statement of the American College of Clinical Pharmacology. J Clin Pharmacol. 2009 Aug;49(8):886-8. PMID: 19602717.

Boddington P. The ethics and regulation of direct-to-consumer genetic testing. Genome Med. 2009 Jul 20;1(7):71. PMID: 19638186

Bowen DJ, Harris J, Jorgensen CM, Myers MF, Kuniyuki A. Socioeconomic Influences on the Effects of a Genetic Testing Direct-to-Consumer Marketing Campaign. Public Health Genomics. 2009 Jul 28. PMID: 19641293

Darnovsky M, Reynolds J. The battle to patent your genes: the meaning of the Myriad case. The American Interest [Online]. September-October, 2009.

Giordano J. Quo vadis? Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine - preserving the humanistic character of medicine in a biotechnological future. Philos Ethics Humanit Med. 2009 Aug 14;4(1):12. PMID: 19682382

Serrano-Delgado M, Novello-Garza BI, Valdez-Martinez E. Ethical issues relating to the banking of umbilical cord blood in Mexico. BMC Med Ethics. 2009 Aug 14;10(1):12. PMID: 19678958

Wade N. Genes tied to gap in treatment of Hepatitis C. The New York Times. August 16, 2009.

Wade N. Cost of decoding a genome is lowered. The New York Times. August 10, 2009.

Wright C. Understanding DTC gentic risk prediction services. PHG Foundation News. August 14, 2009.

Wright C. Update on genetic non-discrimination legistlation. PHG Foundation News. August 10, 2009.

- J.O.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

New German Law on Genetic Testing: More Than Just a German GINA

EuroGentest has recently posted an unofficial English translation of the recently passed and soon to be enacted German legislation, the Human genetic examination act (Genetic diaganosis act - GenDG) [PDF - 162 KB]. The new law addresses genetic examinations (including consent, duty to inform, counselling, and disclosure), genetic testing and insurance contracts, workplace issues (including discrimination), and criminal penalties (prison time, in some circumstances, and fines of up to EURO 300,000).

Hat tip: CanGeneTest e-Newsletter, August 3, 2009.

- J.O.