The policies of ethics committees in the management of biobanks used for research: An Italian survey

Corinna Porteri, Elena Togni, Patrizio Pasqualetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gaps in regulations pertaining to the collection and storage of biological materials in a biobank, at least in the European context, have made the writing of local guidelines essential from an ethical point of view. Nevertheless, until recently, the elaboration of local guidelines for the collection, use and storage of biological materials in a biobank has been the exception in Italy and all European countries. In this context, it is of value to know the policies, even if they are unwritten, of local ethics committees (ECs) engaged in the evaluation of research protocols involving biobanks and biological materials. This paper presents the results of a survey carried out among local Italian ECs (229) to document their attitudes and policies regarding the management of the ethical issues related to biobanks and the use of biological materials. A questionnaire was developed to investigate the areas regarded as critical from an ethical-legal point of view: informed consent and information to the subjects; protection of confidentiality; communication of research results; access/transfer of biological materials and related data; ownership of samples and data and intellectual property rights; and subjects' remuneration and benefit sharing. Twenty-six ECs from the Italian Institutes for Research and Care (62%) and 26 other ECs (14%) participated in the survey.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-265
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Human Genetics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


  • biobanks
  • bioethics
  • ethical policy
  • ethics committees
  • genetic research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Genetics
  • Medicine(all)


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