Biobanking, i.e. storage of biological samples or data emerging from such samples for diagnostic, therapeutic or research purposes, has been going on for decades. However, it is only since the mid 1990s that these activities have become the subject of considerable public attention, concern and debate. This shift in climate is due to several factors. The purpose of this book is to investigate some of the ethical, legal and social challenges raised by research biobanking in its different modern forms and formats. The issues raised by research biobanking in its modern form can be divided into four main clusters: how biological materials are entered into the bank; research biobanks as institutions; under what conditions researchers can access materials in the bank, and problems concerning ownership of biological materials and of intellectual property arising from such materials; and how the information is collected and stored, e.g. access-rights, disclosure, confidentiality, data security and data protection.

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