The UK Human Tissue Act and the Use of Tissue for Research, Issues for Research Ethics Committees

13 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2008 Last revised: 9 Feb 2014

David Hunter

University of Birmingham

Date Written: November 3, 2008

Abstract

The Human Tissue Act 2004 in the United Kingdom clearly represents not a principled approach but instead a compromise, a pragmatic approach which balances several different ethical considerations against each other. In regards to the use of tissue in research it has left many of the more difficult decisions to be made by research ethics committees on a case by case basis. In particular it is now the role of research ethics committees to decide whether research can be carried out using human tissue where no consent was given for the use of this tissue in research. Likewise research ethics committees are now charged with approving of human tissue banks which then need no further ethical approval to carry out further unspecified research solely using tissue from that bank. There has however been little guidance in regards to the decisions these committees should make. This paper aims to delineate these decisions and offer some philosophical guidance to research ethics committee put in the position of making these decisions.

Keywords: Research Ethics, Research Ethics Committees, Human Tissue, Human Tissue Act

Suggested Citation

Hunter, David, The UK Human Tissue Act and the Use of Tissue for Research, Issues for Research Ethics Committees (November 3, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1294379 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1294379

David Hunter (Contact Author)

University of Birmingham ( email )

Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT
United Kingdom

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