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Preferences regarding Return of Genomic Results to Relatives of Research Participants, Including after Participant Death: Empirical Results from a Cancer Biobank

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2021

Extract

Biobank data and samples frequently endure beyond the life of the individual who provided the sample; this is particularly true for biorepositories that archive data and samples from cancer patients. Those data and samples may be used for research, including after the death of the individual. When the research produces genetic research results (a term used here to include incidental findings and individual research results) that have potential health or reproductive importance for the individual who provided the sample, the results may also have importance for blood relatives. This raises the question of whether the research results should be shared with relatives, at their request or at the initiative of the researchers. The issues are complex even when the research participant is alive, but are particularly challenging after the death of the individual whose data and sample are archived, as the individual may not have been asked their preferences about sharing with family, including after death. Even if the individual’s preferences on sharing have been elicited, investigators and biobank directors may be concerned about withholding genetic research results from relatives that are of potential health significance.

Type
Symposium
Copyright
Copyright © American Society of Law, Medicine and Ethics 2015

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