Skip to main content

Tissue Tug-of-War: A Comparison of International and U.S. Perspectives on the Regulation of Human Tissue Banks

Posted by on Monday, July 23, 2012 in Notes, Vol. 41 No. 2, Volume 41, Volumes.

Every day in the United States and around the world, patients and research participants at hospitals and doctors’ offices give biological samples, whether in the form of surgically removed cancer tissue or a routine blood sample.  Many of these patients are entirely unaware that their tissues were not thrown out as hazardous waste, and instead used by scientists for the development of new drugs and therapies.  The courts in the United States in Moore v. Regents of the University of California, Greenberg v. Miami Children’s Hospital Research Institute, and most recently Washington University v. Catalona have determined that a patient does not retain rights to his tissues once they are removed, regardless of whether the patient consented to this forfeiture of rights.

This Note argues that the United States’ regulations and common law developments are simply inadequate to achieve the appropriate balance between protecting patients’ autonomy and further promoting scientific research.  Sweden, Iceland, and Denmark have made greater strides in protecting these basic human tenets in the context of tissue banks through the implementation of comprehensive national policies.  The United States should look to these nations for guidance in forming its own uniform national policy, as our current legal landscape regulating tissue banks will remain fragmented so long as it develops out of sporadic common law precedents.  A legislatively enacted nationwide legal structure would help ensure a uniform approach among courts addressing tissue bank issues and aid in striking an appropriate balance between the recognition of patients’ rights and the promotion of scientific research.

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Response


ExpressO Top 10 Law Review


ANNOUNCEMENTS

The Journal is pleased to announce its 2018-2019 Board of Editors. Complete-Masthead-2018-2019

Vanderbilt University Law School Professor Michael A. Newton’s 2016 VJTL Article entitled How the International Criminal Court Threatens Treaty Norms  was cited by the International Criminal Court prosecutor’s November 2017 filing seeking investigation into war crimes in Afghanistan.

May 2018 Issue on the Second Israel Defense Forces International Conference on the Law of Armed Conflict. Read more about the Journal’s May 2018 issue here.

Thank you to everyone who attended the Journal’s 50th Anniversary celebration on October 5, 2017! View photos from the event here and read about the Journal’s history here.

Connect with the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law on LinkedIn.

The Journal is pleased to listed as the #5 International Law Journal by the 2017 Washington and Lee Law Journal Rankings.

The Journal is very excited about the success of our February 2017 Symposium, “Sovereign Conduct on the Margins of the Law.” Read more about our February 2017 Symposium here

Please join us in congratulating the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 2017-2018 Write-On Competition Winners.

Video is available from the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law’s 2015-2016 SymposiumThis is Not a Drill: Confronting Legal Issues in the Wake of International Disasters. Watch here.