Families of cancer patients support tissue banks

Families of children receiving cancer treatment are supportive of research using tissue samples taken during operations, a study in the journal Biosocieties has found.

Despite claims that the public has lost confidence in tissue-based research, experts at the University of Leicester found widespread support for human tissue research.

All 20 children and 59 parents interviewed by the team said that they would consent to donating samples to a tissue bank for childhood cancer research as long as the right safeguards were in place.

Twenty-six participants even said that they would not mind samples being used for research without their consent, although the majority (45) said that they should be asked for consent.

Study author Professor Mary Dixon-Woods said: "These findings show that anxieties about asking families to donate tissue for research may be misplaced.

"Media reporting has often given the impression that the public is gravely concerned about any use of tissue for research, even when the tissue is from living donors and is being removed as part of treatment," she continued.

"Our study shows that it is wrong to think of the public as having a single unified opinion."

Professor Kathy Pritchard-Jones, of the Institute of Cancer Research, added: "Research using tissue samples is vital to developing improved ways of diagnosing and treating cancer in children.

"It is essential that unfounded claims about 'what the public thinks' do not get in the way."

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