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)
Health care is transitioning from genetics to genomics, in which single-gene testing for diagnosis is being replaced by multi-gene panels, genome-wide sequencing, and other multi-genic tests for disease diagnosis, prediction, prognosis, and treatment. This health care transition is spurring a new set of increased or novel liability risks for health care providers and test laboratories. This article describes this transition in both medical care and liability, and addresses 11 areas of potential increased or novel liability risk, offering recommendations to both (...) health care and legal actors to address and manage those liability risks. (shrink)
Delivering high quality genomics-informed care to patients requires accurate test results whose clinical implications are understood. While other actors, including state agencies, professional organizations, and clinicians, are involved, this article focuses on the extent to which the federal agencies that play the most prominent roles — the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services enforcing CLIA and the FDA — effectively ensure that these elements are met and concludes by suggesting possible ways to improve their oversight of genomic testing.
Human genomics is a translational field spanning research, clinical care, public health, and direct-to-consumer testing. However, law differs across these domains on issues including liability, consent, promoting quality of analysis and interpretation, and safeguarding privacy. Genomic activities crossing domains can thus encounter confusion and conflicts among these approaches. This paper suggests how to resolve these conflicts while protecting the rights and interests of individuals sequenced. Translational genomics requires this more translational approach to law.
Participant-driven research is a burgeoning domain of research innovation, often facilitated by mobile technologies. Return of results and data are common hallmarks, grounded in transparency and data democracy. PDR has much to teach traditional research about these practices and successful engagement. Recommendations calling for new state laws governing research with mHealth modalities common in PDR and federal creation of review mechanisms, threaten to stifle valuable participant-driven innovation, including in return of results.
The law applicable to genomics in the United States is currently in transition and under debate. The rapid evolution of the science, burgeoning clinical research, and growing clinical application pose serious challenges for federal and state law. Although there has been some empirical work in this area, this is the first paper to survey and interview key scientific and legal stakeholders in the field of genomics to help ground identification of the most important legal problems that must be solved to (...) successfully integrate genomics into clinical care. The respondents in this study identified a wide range of interconnected issues, focusing specifically on the need for clear guidelines about how to use these data, fear of liability for those who use these data, and the need to protect patients from use of this information particularly by insurers, while endorsing data sharing. Developing legal strategies to support appropriate use of genomics now and in the future clearly will require making trade-offs, taking into account the full complexity of this legal ecosystem. (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)
The emergence of nanotechnology, and specifically nanobiotechnology, raises major oversight challenges. In the United States, government, industry, and researchers are debating what oversight approaches are most appropriate. Among the federal agencies already embroiled in discussion of oversight approaches are the Food and Drug Administration , Environmental Protection Agency , Department of Agriculture , Occupational Safety and Health Administration , and National Institutes of Health . All can learn from assessment of the successes and failures of past oversight efforts aimed at (...) emerging technologies. This article reports on work funded by the National Science Foundation aimed at learning the lessons of past oversight efforts. The article offers insights that emerge from comparing five oversight case studies that examine oversight of genetically engineered organisms in the food supply, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, chemicals in the workplace, and gene therapy. Using quantitative and qualitative analysis, the authors present a new way of evaluating oversight. (shrink)
As exome and genome sequencing move into clinical application, questions surround how to elicit consent and handle potential return of individual genomic results. This study analyzes nine consent forms used in NIH-funded sequencing studies. Content analysis reveals considerable heterogeneity, including in defining results that may be returned, identifying potential benefits and risks of return, protecting privacy, addressing placement of results in the medical record, and data-sharing. In response to lack of consensus, we offer recommendations.
Research technologies can now produce so much information that there is signifcant potential for incidental fndings . These are fndings generated in research that are beyond the aims of the study. Current law and federal regulations ofer no direct guidance on how to deal with IFs in research, nor is there adequate professional or institutional guidance. We advocate a defned set of researcher duties based on law and ethics and recommend a pathway to be followed in handling IFs in research. (...) This article traces the underlying ethical and legal theories supporting researcher duties to manage IFs, including duties to develop a plan for management in the research protocol, to discuss the possibility of and management plan for IFs in the informed consent process, and to address, evaluate, and ultimately ofer to disclose IFs of potential clinical or reproductive signifcance to research participants when they arise. (shrink)
Oversight of human gene transfer research presents an important model with potential application to oversight of nanobiology research on human participants. Gene therapy oversight adds centralized federal review at the National Institutes of Health's Office of Biotechnology Activities and its Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee to standard oversight of human subjects research at the researcher's institution and at the federal level by the Office for Human Research Protections. The Food and Drug Administration's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research oversees human gene (...) transfer research in parallel, including approval of protocols and regulation of products. This article traces the evolution of this dual oversight system; describes how the system is already addressing nanobiotechnology in gene transfer: evaluates gene therapy oversight based on public opinion, the literature, and preliminary expert elicitation; and offers lessons of the gene therapy oversight experience for oversight of nanobiotechnology. (shrink)
Genomic research results and incidental findings with health implications for a research participant are of potential interest not only to the participant, but also to the participant's family. Yet investigators lack guidance on return of results to relatives, including after the participant's death. In this paper, a national working group offers consensus analysis and recommendations, including an ethical framework to guide investigators in managing this challenging issue, before and after the participant's death.
Returning genetic research results to relatives raises complex issues. In order to inform the U.S. debate, this paper analyzes international law and policies governing the sharing of genetic research results with relatives and identifies key themes and lessons. The laws and policies from other countries demonstrate a range of approaches to balancing individual privacy and autonomy with family access for health benefit, offering important lessons for further development of approaches in the United States.
Incidental fndings of potential medical signifcance are seen in approximately 5-8 percent of asymptomatic subjects and 16 percent of symptomatic subjects participating in large computed tomography colonography studies, with the incidence varying further by CT acquisition technique. While most CTC research programs have a well-defned plan to detect and disclose IFs, such plans are largely communicated only verbally. Written consent documents should also inform subjects of how IFs of potential medical signifcance will be detected and reported in CTC research studies.
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)
Data are lacking with regard to participants' perspectives on return of genetic research results to relatives, including after the participant's death. This paper reports descriptive results from 3,630 survey respondents: 464 participants in a pancreatic cancer biobank, 1,439 family registry participants, and 1,727 healthy individuals. Our findings indicate that most participants would feel obligated to share their results with blood relatives while alive and would want results to be shared with relatives after their death.