Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 301–306 | Cite as

A Role for Research Ethics Committees in Exchanges of Human Biospecimens Through Material Transfer Agreements

  • Donald Chalmers
  • Dianne Nicol
  • Pilar Nicolás
  • Nikolajs Zeps
Critical Perspectives

Abstract

International transfers of human biological material (biospecimens) and data are increasing, and commentators are starting to raise concerns about how donor wishes are protected in such circumstances. These exchanges are generally made under contractual material transfer agreements (MTAs). This paper asks what role, if any, should research ethics committees (RECs) play in ensuring legal and ethical conduct in such exchanges. It is recommended that RECs should play a more active role in the future development of best practice MTAs involving exchange of biospecimens and data and in monitoring compliance.

Keywords

Biospecimens Material transfer agreements Research ethics committees International exchange of biological material 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald Chalmers
    • 1
  • Dianne Nicol
    • 1
  • Pilar Nicolás
    • 2
  • Nikolajs Zeps
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Centre for Law and Genetics, Law FacultyUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  2. 2.Interuniversity Chair in Law and the Human GenomeUniversity of the Basque CountryVizcayaSpain
  3. 3.St. John of God Subiaco Hospital Research NetworkSubiacoAustralia
  4. 4.School of SurgeryThe University of Western AustraliaNedlandsAustralia

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