A New Justification for Pediatric Research Without the Potential for Clinical Benefit

American Journal of Bioethics 12 (1):23 - 31 (2012)
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Pediatric research without the potential for clinical benefit is vital to improving pediatric medical care. This research also raises ethical concern and is regarded by courts and commentators as unethical. While at least 10 justifications have been proposed in response, all have fundamental limitations. This article describes and defends a new justification based on the fact that enrollment in clinical research offers children the opportunity to contribute to a valuable project. Contributing as children to valuable projects can benefit individuals in two ways. First, individuals may come to ?embrace? the contributions they made as children. Second, contributing to valuable projects can lead to a better overall life. Because these potential benefits can outweigh small research risks, they provide a justification for pediatric research without the potential for clinical benefit, when it poses low risks and has the potential to benefit others in important ways



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