No consensus yet exists on how to handle incidental fnd-ings in human subjects research. Yet empirical studies document IFs in a wide range of research studies, where IFs are fndings beyond the aims of the study that are of potential health or reproductive importance to the individual research participant. This paper reports recommendations of a two-year project group funded by NIH to study how to manage IFs in genetic and genomic research, as well as imaging research. We conclude that researchers (...) have an obligation to address the possibility of discovering IFs in their protocol and communications with the IRB, and in their consent forms and communications with research participants. Researchers should establish a pathway for handling IFs and communicate that to the IRB and research participants. We recommend a pathway and categorize IFs into those that must be disclosed to research participants, those that may be disclosed, and those that should not be disclosed. (shrink)
While the bioethics literature demonstrates that the field has spent substantial time and thought over the last four decades on the goals, methods, and desired outcomes for service and training in bioethics, there has been less progress defining the nature and goals of bioethics research and scholarship. This gap makes it difficult both to describe the breadth and depth of these areas of bioethics and, importantly, to gauge their success. However, the gap also presents us with an opportunity to define (...) this scope of work for ourselves and to help shape the broader conversation about the impact of academic research. Because of growing constraints on academic funding, researchers and scholars in many fields are being asked to demonstrate and also forecast the value and impact of their work. To do that, and also to satisfy ourselves that our work has meaningful effect, we must understand how our work can motivate change and how that change can be meaningfully measured. In a field as diverse as bioethics, the pathways to and metrics of change will likewise be diverse. It is therefore critical that any assessment of the impact of bioethics research and scholarship be informed by an understanding of the nature of the work, its goals, and how those goals can and ought to be furthered. In this paper, we propose a conceptual model that connects individual bioethics projects to the broader goals of scholarship, describing the translation of research and scholarly output into changes in thinking, practice, and policy. One of the key implications of the model is that impact in bioethics is generally the result of a collection of projects rather than of any single piece of research or scholarship. Our goal is to lay the groundwork for a thoroughgoing conversation about bioethics research and scholarship that will advance and shape the important conversation about their impact. (shrink)
The nanomedicine field is fast evolving toward complex, “active,” and interactive formulations. Like many emerging technologies, nanomedicine raises questions of how human subjects research (HSR) should be conducted and the adequacy of current oversight, as well as how to integrate concerns over occupational, bystander, and environmental exposures. The history of oversight for HSR investigating emerging technologies is a patchwork quilt without systematic justification of when ordinary oversight for HSR is enough versus when added oversight is warranted. Nanomedicine HSR provides an (...) occasion to think systematically about appropriate oversight, especially early in the evolution of a technology, when hazard and risk information may remain incomplete. This paper presents the consensus recommendations of a multidisciplinary, NIH-funded project group, to ensure a science-based and ethically informed approach to HSR issues in nanomedicine, and to integrate HSR analysis with analysis of occupational, bystander, and environmental concerns. We recommend creating two bodies, an interagency Human Subjects Research in Nanomedicine (HSR/N) Working Group and a Secretary's Advisory Committee on Nanomedicine (SAC/N). HSR/N and SAC/N should perform 3 primary functions: (1) analysis of the attributes and subsets of nanomedicine interventions that raise HSR challenges and current gaps in oversight; (2) providing advice to relevant agencies and institutional bodies on the HSR issues, as well as federal and federal-institutional coordination; and (3) gathering and analyzing information on HSR issues as they emerge in nanomedicine. HSR/N and SAC/N will create a home for HSR analysis and coordination in DHHS (the key agency for relevant HSR oversight), optimize federal and institutional approaches, and allow HSR review to evolve with greater knowledge about nanomedicine interventions and greater clarity about attributes of concern. (shrink)
Beyond Consent examines the concept of justice, and its application to human subject research, through the different lenses of various research populations: children, the vulnerable sick, captive and convenient populations, women, people of colour, and subjects in international settings. Separate chapters address the evolution of research policies, implications of the concept of justice for the future of human subject research, and the ramifications of this concept throughout the research enterprise.
: Pharmacogenetics offers the prospect of an era of safer and more effective drugs, as well as more individualized use of drug therapies. Before the benefits of pharmacogenetics can be realized, the ethical issues that arise in research and clinical application of pharmacogenetic technologies must be addressed. The ethical issues raised by pharmacogenetics can be addressed under six headings: regulatory oversight, confidentiality and privacy, informed consent, availability of drugs, access, and clinicians' changing responsibilities in the era of pharmacogenetic medicine. We (...) analyze each of these categories of ethical issues and provide policy approaches for addressing them. (shrink)
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee on the Necessity of the Use of Chimpanzees in Biomedical and Behavioral Research made a series of recommendations that, as of an announcement on June 26, 2013, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is turning into implemented guidelines. Many advocates, including some researchers and scholars, have suggested that the Committee’s recommendations could be applied successfully to other animal species. This article examines, from my perspective as the IOM Committee’s chair, some of the most important (...) features of the Committee’s work, addresses whether chimpanzees represent a special or unique case for the purpose of research policy, and suggests an approach for evaluating the applicability of the Committee’s recommendations for other animal species used in research. I first present my perspective on the features of the Committee’s work that influenced its approach and conclusions. I then argue that despite the fact that chimpanzees represent a somewhat unique case for restricted research use, their case still offers important lessons for policy regarding the use of other species. Finally, I offer some observations regarding the recommendations and implications of the report from the NIH Working Group charged with crafting guidelines for implementing the IOM Committee’s recommendations. (shrink)
: During the nearly 10 years since its introduction, preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) has been used predominantly to avoid giving birth to a child with identified genetic disease. Recently, PGD was used by a couple not only to test IVF-created embryos for genetic disease, but also to test for a nondisease trait related to immune compatibility with a child in the family in need of an hematopoetic stem cell transplant. This article describes the case, raises some ethical and policy issues, (...) highlights gaps in U.S. policy, and finally makes some recommendations for addressing advancing genetic and reproductive technologies. (shrink)
: The supply of organs for transplant remains inadequate to meet the needs of waiting patients, in spite of many programs and approaches to increase rates of donation. Over the years there have been numerous proposals to introduce schemes that would move toward the outright sale of organs. Three articles in this issue of the Journal propose methods for increasing organ supply—two by moving toward a market approach and the third by advocating a change in social culture. All three suffer (...) from shortcomings, including the endorsement and encouragement of the exploitation of those who may offer organs. Although the shortage of organs must be addressed, the social price of a market in organs is too high, and proposals to encourage a rethinking of social responsibility are unlikely to be effective. (shrink)
Epidemiology is a core science of public health, focusing on research related to the distribution and determinants of both positive and adverse health states and events and on application of knowledge gained to improve public health. The American College of Epidemiology (ACE) is a professional organization devoted to the professional practice of epidemiology. As part of that commitment, and in response to concerns for more explicit attention to core values and duties of epidemiologists in light of emerging issues and increased (...) scrutiny of epidemiology, the College developed, adopted, and published a set of Ethics Guidelines. The structure of the ACE ethics guidelines is in four parts: (1) a brief statement of core values and duties of epidemiologists, coupled with the virtues important to professional practice; (2) concise statements of key duties and obligations; (3) exposition of the duties and obligations with more applications; and (4) a brief summary and conclusion. The Guidelines have been published on the ACE website and in the official College journal Annals of Epidemiology. The guidelines contain (and maintain) core elements that define the discipline of epidemiology and its fundamental duties, but they are also intended to be dynamic and evolving, responsive to a changing professional and social environment. (shrink)
Predictive genetic testing poses fundamental questions for disability insurance, a crucial resource funding basic needs when disability prevents income from work. This article, from an NIH-funded project, presents the first indepth analysis of the challenging issues: Should disability insurers be permitted to consider genetics and exclude predicted disability? May disabilities with a recognized genetic basis be excluded from coverage as pre-existing conditions? How can we assure that private insurers writing individual and group policies, employers, and public insurers deal competently and (...) appropriately with genetic testing? (shrink)
This book is a rich blend of analyses by leading experts from various cultures and disciplines. A compact introduction to a complex field, it illustrates biotechnology's profound impact upon the environment and society. Moreover, it underscores the vital relevance of cultural values. This book empowers readers to more critically assess biotechnology's value and effectiveness within both specific cultural and global contexts.
At its core, public health introduces tensions between individuals' autonomy and the need to account for the perspectives and needs of communities and populations. It further raises social justice issues, including fair allocation of limited resources. This article examines and elaborates on these tensions and their resolutions using specific public health examples. Experiences in the 1980s and 1990s with HIV/AIDS provide a particularly rich collection of issues that brought ethical issues in public health to the public's attention, and in so (...) doing challenged previously held assumptions about the appropriate consideration of individual rights in the context of population health objectives. Lastly, the article examines some of the ethical challenges arising in public health applications of recent science and technology advances, specifically the emerging area of public health genomics and the large scale collection and analysis of health information. (shrink)
This commentary asks what we can learn from our oversight of controversial science and how can we do better in the future? After briefly examining the history of gene transfer research oversight, some observations are offered for the oversight of nanobiotechnology and other emerging areas of science.