To present the ethical issues, moral arguments, and reasons found in the ethical literature on organoid models.
In this systematic review of reasons in ethical literature, we selected sources based on predefined criteria: (1) The publication mentions moral reasons or arguments directly relating to the creation and/or use of organoid models in biomedical research; (2) These moral reasons and arguments are significantly addressed, not as mere passing mentions, or comprise a large portion of the body of work; (3) The publication is peer-reviewed and published in an academic article, book, national-level report, working paper, or Ph.D. thesis; (4) The publications collected are in English.
Each article was read in-depth for identifiable moral reasons, arguments, and concerns. These were then inductively classified and synthesized to create broader categories of reasons, and eventually an overarching conceptual scheme was created.
A total of twenty-three sources were included and analyzed out of an initial 266 collected sources. Five themes of ethical issues and arguments were found: Animal Experimentation; Clinical Applications and Experiments; Commercialization and Consent; Organoid Ontology and Moral Status; and Research Ethics and Research Integrity. These themes are then further broken down into sub-themes and topics. Given the extensive nature of the topics found, we will focus on describing the topics that comprised of more in-depth reasons and arguments rather than few, passing mentions or concerns.
The ethics of organoids requires further deliberation in multiple areas, as much of the discussions are not presented as in-depth arguments. Such sentiments are also echoed throughout the organoid ethics literature.
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We thank OrganoVIR for their generosity in funding this work.
This work has received funding from the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, OrganoVIR, under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement N. 812673.
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Barnhart, A.J., Dierickx, K. The Many Moral Matters of Organoid Models: A systematic review of reasons. Med Health Care and Philos 25, 545–560 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11019-022-10082-3
- Systematic review