Thursday, 13 September 2012

Should people be paid for research tissue donations?

A piece in Science on July 6 discussed the case of Henrietta Lacks (the patient HeLa cells are derived from) and whether people who donate tissue for research purposes should receive compensation.

This week, several letters were also published in Science that argue for or against a compensation scheme. The main issues are should compensation be given? how much? would royalties be included? would type of tissue matter? would the number of donors decrease? would compensation induce more people to consent?

Human tissue is an invaluable part of research. Those tissues that are collected are "waste" or dangerous (ex tumours). As someone that will soon rely on human tissue samples, I am in favour of whatever will send tissue my way. However, I don't feel comfortable if people aren't really ok with their tissue being used in research but are donating because they are in need of the money.

Fewer women enrol in HIV vaccine trials

More than half of the new HIV infections occur in women in developing countries, but only about 20% of the participants in phase I and II HIV vaccine trials are women. This makes it difficult for researchers to determine if the virus is actually effective in women. It's thought that this may be due to a couple factors - the first that women can not become pregnant during the trial, but most eligible women are usually within the reproductive age; second, women may need to seek consent from their parents or partners to participate in the trial and this may influence their willingness to participate.

Same article also on SciDev.Net (I'm not sure if access to the articles is different)

Monday, 10 September 2012

Vaccine trail identifies targets for immune response that could improve future vaccines

Saw this on Twitter today and thought it was really interesting. Will post the link to the full article later.