Donors and Users of Human Tissue for Research Purposes

Conflict of Interests and Balancing of Interests
  • Christian Lenk
Conference paper
Part of the Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für Deutsches, Europäisches und Internationales Medizinrecht, Gesundheitsrecht und Bioethik der Universitäten Heidelberg und Mannheim book series (IMGB, volume 33)


Research with human tissue has often no direct benefit for the participating patients or test persons. Researchers, who want to use human tissue for their projects have to seek mechanisms to motivate tissue donors which are practicable in the framework of a specific study design. As some former cases show, there is a potential conflict of interests between researchers and patients which sometimes even culminates in legal proceedings with counterintuitive outcomes. The article presents two prominent cases and analyzes notions of justice for the field of tissue extraction and research and the distribution of possible benefits to researchers and patients. The Aristotelian conception of justice and distribution serves as a starting point for this analysis. Criticism concerning the commercialisation of the human body is taken into account and a variety of commercial as well as non-commercial forms of benefit-sharing are proposed and discussed with regard to the specific character of the research study. Thinking the categories of study type and potential benefits together results in a chart with customized benefits for each research study. The article comes to the conclusion that forms of benefit-sharing are an adequate instrument to avoid conflicts of interests in projects which are based on research with human tissue. It seems to be important to choose the right form of benefit-sharing for a specific project, dependent on the project’s characteristics and potential benefits for the patients.


Intellectual Property Corrective Justice Specific Patient Group Individual Feedback Canavan Disease 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Lenk
    • 1
  1. 1.Georg-August-UniversityGöttingenGermany

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