Rare Disease research has seen tremendous advancements over the last decades, with the development of new technologies, various global collaborative efforts and improved data sharing. To maximize the impact of and to further build on these developments, there is a need for model consent clauses for rare diseases research, in order to improve data interoperability, to meet the informational needs of participants, and to ensure proper ethical and legal use of data sources and participants’ overall protection. A global Task Force (...) was set up to develop model consent clauses specific to rare diseases research, that are comprehensive, harmonized, readily accessible, and internationally applicable, facilitating the recruitment and consent of rare disease research participants around the world. Existing consent forms and notices of consent were analyzed and classified under different consent themes, which were used as background to develop the model consent clauses. The IRDiRC-GA4GH MCC Task Force met in September 2018, to discuss and design model consent clauses. Based on analyzed consent forms, they listed generic core elements and designed the following rare disease research specific core elements; Rare Disease Research Introductory Clause, Familial Participation, Audio/Visual Imaging, Collecting, storing, sharing of rare disease data, Recontact for matching, Data Linkage, Return of Results to Family Members, Incapacity/Death, and Benefits. The model consent clauses presented in this article have been drafted to highlight consent elements that bear in mind the trends in rare disease research, while providing a tool to help foster harmonization and collaborative efforts. (shrink)
In this paper, we outline the policy implications of mobile health research conducted at the international level. We describe the manner in which such research may have an international dimension and argue that it is not likely to be excluded from conventionally applicable international regulatory tools. We suggest that closer policy attention is needed for this rapidly proliferating approach to health research.
Current advances in assisted reproductive technologies aim to promote the health and well-being of future children. They offer the possibility to select embryos with the greatest potential of being born healthy and may someday correct faulty genes responsible for heritable diseases in the embryo ). Most laws and policy statements surrounding HGGM refer to the notion of ‘serious’ as a core criterion in determining what genetic diseases should be targeted by these technologies. Yet, this notion remains vague and poorly defined, (...) rendering its application challenging and decision making subjective and arbitrary. By way of background, we begin by briefly presenting two conceptual approaches to ‘health’ and ‘disease’: objectivism and constructivism. The basic challenge under both is sorting out whether and to what extent social and environmental factors have a role in helping to define what qualifies as a ‘serious’ disease beyond the medical criteria. We then focus on how a human rights framework could integrate the concepts of objectivism and constructivism so as to provide guidance for a more actionable consideration of ‘serious’. Ultimately, it could be argued that a human rights framework, by way of its legally binding nature and its globally accepted norms and values, provides a more universal foundation for discussions of the ethical, legal and social implications of emerging or disruptive technologies. (shrink)
Genetic research has moved from Mendelian genetics to sequence maps to the study of natural human genetic variation at the level of the genome. This past decade of discovery has been accompanied by a shift in emphasis towards the ethical principles of reciprocity, mutuality, solidarity, citizenry and universality.
Currently, the return of results in the domain of biobanking constitutes an ethical and legal quagmire, whether it involves population or specific clinical research studies. In light of the fact that population biobanks are often not seen as distinct from those biobanks created for disease research, as well as the uncertainty as to what “return of results” means concretely, this lexicon attempts to demystify the terminology. The terms — results, return, clinical significance, and utility — are discussed. Through an analysis (...) of international and national normative guidance on this issue, the authors propose a concordance of meaning and a simplified lexicon. (shrink)
This article outlines procedures for the feedback of individual research data to participants. This feedback framework was developed in the context of a personalized medicine research project in Canada. Researchers in this domain have an ethical obligation to return individual research results and/or material incidental findings that are clinically significant, valid and actionable to participants. Communication of individual research data must proceed in an ethical and efficient manner. Feedback involves three procedural steps: assessing the health relevance of a finding, re-identifying (...) the affected participant, and communicating the finding. Re-identification requires researchers to break the code in place to protect participant identities. Coding systems replace personal identifiers with a numerical code. Double coding systems provide added privacy protection by separating research data from personal identifying data with a third "linkage" database. A trusted and independent intermediary, the "keyholder", controls access to this linkage database. (shrink)
BackgroundGlobal collaboration in genomic research is increasingly both a scientific reality and an ethical imperative. This past decade has witnessed the emergence of six new, interconnected areas of ethical consensus and emphasis for policy in genomics: governance, security, empowerment, transparency, the right not to know, and globalization.DiscussionThe globalization of genomic research warrants an approach to governance policies grounded in human rights.SummaryA human rights approach activates the ethical principles underpinning genomic research. It lends force to the right of all citizens to (...) benefit from scientific progress, and to the right of all scientists to be recognized for their contributions. (shrink)
In this reply, we wish to defend our original position and address several of the points raised by two excellent responses. The first response questions the relevance of the notion of ‘serious’ within the context of human germline genome modification. We argue that the ‘serious’ factor is relevant and that there is a need for medical and social lenses to delineate the limits of acceptability and initial permissible applications of HGGM. In this way, ‘serious’ acts as a starting point for (...) further discussions and debates on the acceptability of the potential clinical translation of HGGM. Therefore, there is a pressing need to clarify its scope, from a regulatory perspective, so as to prevent individuals from using HGGM for non-therapeutic or enhancement purposes. The second response criticizes the narrow interpretation of the objectivist approach and the apparent bias towards material innovations when discussing the right to benefit from scientific advancements. As an in-depth discussion of the objectivist and constructivist approaches was beyond the scope of our original paper, we chose to focus on one specific objectivist account, one which focuses on biological and scientific facts. We agree, however, with the critique that material innovations should not be the sole focus of the right to benefit from scientific advancements, which also incorporates freedom of scientific research and access to scientific knowledge scientific freedom and knowledge, including the influence of these on ethical thinking and cultures. (shrink)
Paediatric genomic research raises particularly challenging questions on whether and under what circumstances to return research results. In the paediatric context, decision-making is guided by the best interests of the child framework, as enshrined in the 1989 international Convention on the Rights of the Child. According to this Convention, rights and responsibilities are shared between children, parents, researchers, and the state. These "relational" obligations are further complicated in the context of genetic research.
This paper addresses the ethical issues of secondary uses of samples collected for identification purposes following mass disasters. It studies norms governing secondary use of samples , ultimately concluding that limited secondary research uses of these samples should be permissible.