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Use of human tissue for research - Essay Example

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Human tissue refers to any material collected from a living or a deceased person which consists of human cells. Human tissue is used extensively in basic research, diagnostics, biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industry…
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Download file to see previous pages Human tissue refers to any material collected from a living or a deceased person which consists of human cells. Human tissue is used extensively in basic research, diagnostics, biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industry.Studies involving human tissue samples are central to biomedical research. Human tissue-based models are important to understand the vital proteomic and genomic differences that occur in human disease that will help develop proper diagnostic tools and treatments. In the western world, samples of human tissue have been collected and archived for over a century, with about twenty million new ones being added each year in the U.S. alone (Murray, 2006). A number of important scientific breakthroughs have occurred, thanks to tissue specimens. The development of PAP smear test for cervical cancer that was mainly enabled by studies on abnormal cervical tissue which showed the presence of dysplastic changes prior to the development of cervical cancer, and the strong link observed between smoking and progressive changes in the bronchial tissue in studies of autopsied tissue are but only two discoveries that research using human tissue has achieved so far. The scientific value of human tissue continues to increase as newer and highly sophisticated techniques in molecular biology and genetics become available. In certain cases, the tissue could acquire significant commercial value as well. For this and several other reasons, the use of human tissue for research has evoked much concern about ethical issues. ...
The act established the Human Tissue Authority (HTA) to regulate activities related to the removal, storage, use and disposal of human tissue. The Act has a very broad regulatory power in relation to 'relevant  material', which includes most human material such as organs, tissue, blood but excluding material already regulated under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 (Liddell and Hall 2005; McHale 2006; Price 2005). The key points of the Human Tissue Act 2004 pertaining to the collection and use of human tissue, as summarised by HTA (2010), are: (a) The act “regulates the removal, storage and use of human tissue. This is defined as material that has come from a human body and consists of, or includes, human cells,” and (b) the act “creates a new offence of DNA ‘theft’. It is unlawful to have human tissue with the intention of its DNA being analysed, without the consent of the person from whom the tissue came”. Ethical theories and the Act Various kinds of human tissue are collected or removed from patients for purposes of diagnosis of disease. And it has been the general practice for the remnants of the material collected to be used for other studies which could be deemed as human rights violation (Kurosu, 2008). Under the Human Tissue Act 2004, removing, storing or using human tissue without appropriate consent would be an offence. The Act has adopted informed consent (as against presumed consent) for collection and use of human tissue for medical research. Informed consent which is a legal obligation under the Act, finds moral foundations in ethical theories of autonomy (Delaney, 2008a). The Act, thus, seeks to use both law ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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