From patients to partners: participant-centric initiatives in biomedical research

Nat Rev Genet. 2012 Apr 3;13(5):371-6. doi: 10.1038/nrg3218.


Advances in computing technology and bioinformatics mean that medical research is increasingly characterized by large international consortia of researchers that are reliant on large data sets and biobanks. These trends raise a number of challenges for obtaining consent, protecting participant privacy concerns and maintaining public trust. Participant-centred initiatives (PCIs) use social media technologies to address these immediate concerns, but they also provide the basis for long-term interactive partnerships. Here, we give an overview of this rapidly moving field by providing an analysis of the different PCI approaches, as well as the benefits and challenges of implementing PCIs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / ethics*
  • Computational Biology / ethics
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent / ethics
  • Privacy
  • Social Media / ethics*