The use of human tissue in epidemiological research; ethical and legal considerations in two biobanks in Belgium
This paper discusses the legal implications of setting up two new biobanks in Belgium. The first is hospital-based and will archive tissue from patients with haematologic cancer, whereas the second is linked to a general practice based morbidity registry and will involve storage of blood samples. To date, Belgium has no specific legislation that regulates storage of human tissue and related databases. Several issues concerning the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal medical data are discussed from the existing privacy legislation. We will address the principle of consent (broad versus specific) and the type of data recorded (anonymous, encoded and identifiable) for both biobanks.
KeywordsBiobank research Informed consent Legislation Personal data protection
The authors acknowledge CCPRB (Cancer Control using Population based Registries and Biobanks), a Network of Excellence, funded by the 6th Framework Programme of DG Research (European Commission, Brussels), through the University of Lund (Malmö, Sweden). MA (coauthor) was also funded by the Belgian Foundation Against Cancer (Brussels; Belgium). Intego is financially supported by the Flemish Government (project number 3H010475).
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