Research with human tissue - entering the field of tension between medical progress and ethical responsability
Research on human tissue, clearing the complex interaction between genes and environment, between genetic and external factors, allows to develop new therapies that are more effective and efficient, to reduce side effects and/or to treat diseases that were not curable until now.
With the employment of human tissue, there are arising questions of law and ethics. In the public and with experts such questions are often discussed in connection with the use of embryonic tissue.
Less in focus, but ethically and concerning the law troublesome nonetheless is the use of adult tissue, as it is a result from operations. A common example are cancer operations, where the tumour is omitted together with healthy tissue surrounding it.
What purpose serves the foundation HTCR in this process?
Employing adult human tissue in medical research, however, needs normative control the same way as the research on stem cells: a strict "Code of Conduct" is necessary, which clearly defines effective rules, in which way there can be made use of donated human tissue resulting from operations and the related patient data. In the past there was an open gap. A binding framework and an instrument to bring it to life were missing.
The foundation HTCR now fills this gap. It is the first initiative to overcome that normative deficit and meet the requirements of ethics, sciences and law altogether.
It is the foundations purpose to support science and research. It aims therefore only and directly at non profitable objectives according to tax regulations, part "Steuerbegünstigte Zwecke".
The foundations purpose is realised especially through the following measures:
- acceptance of rejected tissue, i.e. from liver and tumours, its conservation and provision it in a tissue bank and blinded documentation of the patients clinical data;
- passing on this tissue for the purposes of science and research;
- promotion of medical science, primarily on the field of human in vitro-models.
The funcionality of the foundation HTCR is showed by a drawing...
Research on an ethically impeccable basis
With the foundation HTCR, there arises to many scientists for the first time the possibility to receive human tissue from operations on a legally and ethically cleared basis, documented and archived precisely. The foundation makes sure that samples or data are not used in an uncontrolled way and that donators rights are preserved, without cutting research or making it impossible due to excessive regulation.