The Sunderland Case

FEDERAL RESEARCHER APPROPRIATES THOUSANDS OF TISSUE SAMPLES

A federal researcher gave thousands of human tissue samples under the control of the government to a pharmaceutical company with whom he maintained a secret relationship. In turn, the company, Pfizer, paid Dr. Trey Sunderland more than half a million dollars in consulting fees and travel expenses for tissues that cost the government 6.4 million dollars to collect. Quite a bargain for Pfizer.

How could this happen? Because the government's oversight of its own tissue collections is unacceptably lax. Dr. Sunderland was only caught by accident. It all began to unravel when a researcher at the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Susan Molchan, asked for some tissue samples she had collected years before on Alzheimer's patients. [ Read More ]
Dr. Trey Sunderland

The Havasupai Case

RESEARCH WITHOUT PATIENT CONSENT

Can scientists do genetic research on your tissues without your consent? That's the essential question in a lawsuit pending before Judge Janet E. Barton of the Maricopa County Superior Court in Arizona.

Members of the Havasupai Tribe allege that researchers from Arizona State University (ASU) and the University of Arizona (U of A) collected 400 blood samples from tribal members for diabetes research, but that those same samples were used for additional unauthorized research on schizophrenia, inbreeding, and population migration. The tribe asserts that research on schizophrenia and inbreeding sitgmatizes them and that they would not have authorized any migration research because it conflicts with their religious origin story. [ Read More ]
Carletta Tilousi

The Catalona Case

PATIENTS LOSE LAWSUIT TO RECLAIM THEIR TISSUES

Patients who donate tissues to a researcher or university may lose all rights to those tissues, even if signed documents exist saying the patients retain rights. That is the meaning of a recent court ruling in St. Louis, involving internationally famous prostate surgeon William Catalona.

In the early 1980's, Dr. Catalona began asking his patients if they were willing to let him use the tissue he removed during their surgery for research. Over the years he amassed tens of thousands of tissue samples. His research led to the development of the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test which is used to detect prostate cancer. [ Read More ]
James Ellis

The Cooke Case

CANCEROUS BONES STOLEN, SENT TO TISSUE BANKS AROUND THE US

Bones from the 95-year-old body of famous television personality Alistair Cooke were stolen and sold to bone tissue banks around the country even though Cooke had died of cancer that had spread to his bones.

No one knows where the bone tissue is now or how much cancerous bone has been transplanted into unwitting patients. [ Read More ]
Alistair Cooke


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