Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Stem Cells, Cellular Therapy & Biobanking
>
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

The Ethics of Biobanking and the Human Investment

Published: Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Last Updated: Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Biobanks across South Africa collect and store thousands of biospecimens such as blood, saliva, plasma, and purified DNA?

Unisa’s College of Law (CLAW) held a seminar on the ethical and legal issues around biobanking, on 26 August 2013, to look at some of the controversial issues that are raised by the practice, such as the privacy of individuals who store their biomaterial with these banks or volunteer to assist with research.

Concerns about communicating research findings, dealing with the tissues that remain, the rights of family members, and the thorny questions of payment and benefit sharing were also considered.
Professor Omphemetse Sibanda, Director: School of Law, explained that CLAW was looking to provide legal solutions to the topic, to benefit stakeholders and influence policy development. “This discussion has a national and international context and includes arenas such as stem cell and genome research.”

Blood donors are biobankers

Many people are loyal blood donors and yet, perhaps, are unaware that the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) can be considered as one of the country’s largest biobanks, storing and collecting blood on a daily basis. Organisations such as SANBS, while adhering to legislative policies, are mostly self regulating. Dr Loyiso Mpuntsha, CEO: SANBS, says that private biobanks must adhere to strict self-regulating guidelines such as considering all stakeholders, collaboration on a local and international level, and supplying quality bio specimens. She believes that biobanks are becoming a viable alternative for researchers and medical professionals. “Biobanks are attracting the attention with the government and pharmaceutical industry and funding of contractual agreements.”

International perspectives on biobanking

From an international perspective, some countries have already instituted far-reaching legislation and laws that deal with biobanking including private networks. Iceland and Sweden have introduced laws and the United Kingdom has a human tissue act. Ma’n Zawati, Academic Associate Lawyer, Centre of Genomics and Policy, McGill University Canada, dealt with the regulation of biobanks from an international perspective, pointing out that the public are voluntarily coming forward to donate their human specimens to help research, in, for instance, clinical trials. “There is an ethical imperative attached to this because people are handing over their data but they expect biobanks to do something with this. They need to see progress or they won’t continue.”

Zawati believes that it is impossible to harmonise international law but that it is possible to harmonise the tools for biobanks by providing generic documents that countries can use, citing that they were formulated using international standards.

Establishing a public biobank in South Africa

The situation in South Africa is vastly different from its international counterparts. Currently, there is no public biobank in the country as the field comprises private companies. Professor Michael Pepper, Director: Institute for Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Pretoria, says they have conducted research with the Department of Health to possibly establish a public bank. “The response has been overwhelmingly positive after trials to establish a public biobank. This also speaks to the fact that the private sector has spent 150 million rand to store blood, units, stem cells and other material for several years which has not been used. There is no point in storing these cells and not using them.”

Pepper revealed that there are gaps in terms of policies as well as norms and standards but noted that more and more groups involved in human tissues have begun to self regulate and have professional bodies to ensure international standards are met. “Legislation must protect individuals from harmful or unethical practices. It must be uppermost in our minds that we make provisions for all South Africans and allow the public to benefit from advances in medical science.”


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,700+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.


Scientific News
The Mending Tissue - Cellular Instructions for Tissue Repair
NUS-led collaborative study identifies universal mechanism that explains how tissue shape regulates physiological processes such as wound healing and embryo development.
Tissue Bank Pays Dividends for Brain Cancer Research
Checking what’s in the bank – the Brisbane Breast Bank, that is – has paid dividends for UQ cancer researchers.
iPS Cells Discover Drug Target for Muscle Disease
Researchers have designed a model that reprograms fibroblasts to the early stages of their differentiation into intact muscle cells in a step towards a therapeutic for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Engineered Hot Fat Implants Reduce Weight Gain
Scientists at UC Berkeley have developed a novel way to engineer the growth and expansion of energy-burning “good” fat, and then found that this fat helped reduce weight gain and lower blood glucose levels in mice.
Transplanted Stem Cells Can Benefit Retinal Disease Sufferers
Tests on animal models show that MSCs secrete growth factors that suppress causes of diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration.
MRI Scanners Can Steer Therapeutics to Specific Target Sites
Scientists from the University of Sheffield have discovered MRI scanners, normally used to produce images, can steer cell-based, tumour busting therapies to specific target sites in the body.
Team Finds Early Inflammatory Response Paralyzes T Cells
Findings could have enormous implications for immunotherapy, autoimmune disorders, transplants and other aspects of immunity.
Early Detection of Lung Cancer
The University of Manchester has signed a collaboration agreement with Abcodia to perform proteomics studies on a cohort of non-small cell lung cancer cases from the UKCTOCS biobank, with the aim of discovering new blood-based biomarkers for earlier detection of the disease.
Researchers Identify Drug Candidate for Skin, Hair Regeneration
Formerly undiscovered role of protein may lead to the development of new medications that stimulate hair and skin regeneration in trauma or burn victims.
Basis for New Treatment Options for a Fatal Leukemia in Children Revealed
Detailed molecular analyses allow new insights into the function of tumour cells and options for new treatments.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!