Louise Irving and John Harris

in The Oxford Handbook of Bioethics

Published in print February 2009 | ISBN: 9780199562411
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy


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This article looks at some of the chance discoveries and elegant ideas that were borne out through the availability of archived tissue samples. It then discusses some of the planned changes to the method and purpose of tissue storage and collection. The changes are in the form of new types of tissue bank, or biobank as they are conceived. These banks are part of a trend to move towards a preventative approach to public health rather than the current costly interventionist model. This approach is not without its problems and it is these that threaten the unfettered continuation of the tissue archive. The sophistication of new research tools can uncover information about individuals that may have a detrimental effect on their well-being in various ways. The article analyses these possibilities in the context of how health care might develop.

Keywords: tissue samples; biobanking; tissue banks; public health; tissue archive; health care; well-being

Article.  7873 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Philosophy of Science ; Moral Philosophy

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