SPECIAL COMMUNICATIONS: Book Reviews
ISBN: 978-0-387-93871-4. Copyright: 2009. Edition: 1st. Editors: Jan H. Solbakk, MD, PhD; Soren Holm, MD; Bjorn Hofmann, PhD. Specialties: Medical Ethics. Publisher: Springer. List Price: $189.00
Biobanking involves the storage of biological samples or data emerging from such samples for diagnostic, therapeutic, or research purposes. Although biobanking has occurred for decades, it is only during the last two decades that these activities have become the subject of considerable public attention and debate.
To explore the ethical, legal, and social challenges raised by research biobanking.
Professionals involved in medical and scientific research, academicians, and the general public. Much of the material requires knowledge of clinical research and/or bioethics.
This book contains articles that reflect an interdisciplinary and transnational approach to the issues surrounding research biobanking. It represents a collaboration of scholars representing eight countries.
The issues raised by research biobanking are divided into the following clusters: how biological materials are entered into the bank, research biobanks as institutions, limitations on researcher access to materials, problems concerning ownership and intellectual property arising from such materials, and how information is collected and stored (e.g., access rights, disclosure, confidentiality, data security).
The book is divided into two distinct parts with equally distinct goals. Part 1 is a series of 10 scholarly articles that identify and analyze issues implicated in research biobanking, including the force and limits of informed consent, the duties to disclose, exceptionalism, and the relative roles of donor/subject, professional, and society in the biobanking enterprise. The 11 chapters in part 2 use comparisons to institutions from commercial banks to libraries to gambling to voluntary associations to analyze possible alternative approaches to the structure and regulation of biobanking. The final chapter uses the story of the Tower of Babel to illustrate the authors' skepticism that a harmonized regulation of local, regional, and international biobanking is possible.
The two-part structure of the book provides valuable information to readers at all levels of previous exposure.
The focus of much of the book, as well as the conclusion, involves the need for deliberate reflection, discussion, and delineation of underlying values by the ethicists involved. The print quality, and the number, of illustrations should be improved in future editions. References are sufficient, current, and helpful in most cases.
Kelly Dineen, RN, JD
(Saint Louis University School of Law St. Louis, MO)