Ethics and biobanks

Br J Cancer. 2009 Jan 13;100(1):8-12. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6604795. Epub 2008 Nov 25.


Biobank research has been the focus of great interest of scholars and regulatory bodies who have addressed different ethical issues. On the basis of a review of the literature it may be concluded that, regarding some major themes in this discussion, a consensus seems to emerge on the international scene after the regular exchange of arguments in scientific journals. Broad or general consent is emerging as the generally preferred solution for biobank studies and straightforward instructions for coding will optimise privacy while facilitating research that may result in new methods for the prevention of disease and for medical treatment. The difficult question regarding the return of information to research subjects is the focus of the current research, but a helpful analysis of some of the issues at stake and concrete recommendations have recently been suggested.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Specimen Banks / ethics*
  • Biological Specimen Banks / organization & administration
  • Confidentiality
  • Ethics Committees, Research
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent
  • Research