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Use of human tissues for research: Ethical concerns

Anuradha Ananthamurthy

DOI: 10.20529/IJME.2008.046


Human tissues have always been used in medical institutions for research and teaching purposes. Until recently research and teaching were considered “altruistic” activities, and research projects at most passed through an institutional ethical clearance. However, with the growing biomedical industry, there has been a sudden increase in requirement for human tissues, both fresh and archival, for research, validation and even commercial purposes. We pathologists, as facilitators of this process, need to equip ourselves adequately to deal with the ethical and legal implications of using tissues. We must not only comply with good ethical practice, but also resist unnecessary restrictions that will hamper teaching and research. The purpose of this short review is to understand the ethical arguments behind the use of human tissues in research.

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