Drawing on a landscape analysis of existing data-sharing initiatives, in-depth interviews with expert stakeholders, and public deliberations with community advisory panels across the U.S., we describe features of the evolving medical information commons. We identify participant-centricity and trustworthiness as the most important features of an MIC and discuss the implications for those seeking to create a sustainable, useful, and widely available collection of linked resources for research and other purposes.
This article outlines procedures for the feedback of individual research data to participants. This feedback framework was developed in the context of a personalized medicine research project in Canada. Researchers in this domain have an ethical obligation to return individual research results and/or material incidental findings that are clinically significant, valid and actionable to participants. Communication of individual research data must proceed in an ethical and efficient manner. Feedback involves three procedural steps: assessing the health relevance of a finding, re-identifying (...) the affected participant, and communicating the finding. Re-identification requires researchers to break the code in place to protect participant identities. Coding systems replace personal identifiers with a numerical code. Double coding systems provide added privacy protection by separating research data from personal identifying data with a third "linkage" database. A trusted and independent intermediary, the "keyholder", controls access to this linkage database. (shrink)
In an era of unrivalled sequencing, computation and networking capability, international sharing of genomic samples and data is becoming a modus operandi for modern medical research. Researchers are collaborating to establish large collections with global scale. Having never before set foot outside the cell, the molecules that shape us are being digitized and launched across the globe. Protecting individual privacy interests in this information is a central challenge of the genomic research era. This article reviews international privacy norms governing human (...) genomic biobanks and databases. It will not directly consider biobanks established for other health-related purposes, such as screening or therapy. A genomic biobank is “a hybrid infrastructure,” an organized collection of human biological material combined with associated health information: physical measurements, outcome data in medical records, and epidemiological information, as well as genomic data derived from the samples. (shrink)