Biobanking in pediatrics: the human nonsubjects approach

Per Med. 2011 Jan;8(1):79. doi: 10.2217/pme.10.70.


Pediatric biobanks are an indispensible resource for the research that will be needed to bring advances in personalized medicine into pediatric medical care. Investigators developing pediatric biobanks have struggled with the ethical and legal challenges that arise in pediatric research. This article explores how one biobank model, the 'human nonsubjects models', is able to respond to such common challenges as the role of the parent and the child in agreeing to research participation, reconsent at the age of majority, data sharing and return of research results. Although this approach does not involve formal informed consent, it is well-suited to pediatric biobanking owing to its potential to reduce risk to children through a combination of advanced deidentification techniques and extensive oversight.