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I. Glenn Cohen

I. Glenn Cohen is Professor at Harvard Law School and Faculty Director at the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School.

Titles by This Editor

Ethics and Policy Implications

Advances in medicine often depend on the effective collection, storage, research use, and sharing of human biological specimens and associated data. But what about the sources of such specimens? When a blood specimen is drawn from a vein in your arm, is that specimen still you? Is it your property, intellectual or otherwise? Should you be allowed not only to consent to its use in research but also to specify under what circumstances it may be used? These and other questions are at the center of a vigorous debate over the use of human biospecimens in research.

Perspectives on the Future

The current framework for the regulation of human subjects research emerged largely in reaction to the horrors of Nazi human experimentation, revealed at the Nuremburg trials, and the Tuskegee syphilis study, conducted by U.S. government researchers from 1932 to 1972. This framework, combining elements of paternalism with efforts to preserve individual autonomy, has remained fundamentally unchanged for decades.