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CSS Student Colloquium: Cristina Lagido

No longer just poop: Ethical, legal and social aspects of stool biobanks

Info about event


Wednesday 9 December 2020,  at 15:15 - 16:00


Biobanks or repositories of human samples and associated data have become a feature of modern health care and biomedical research. The types of samples stored include tumour tissue, blood, DNA, sperm and, more recently, faeces. This talk focuses on stool banks (i.e. faeces banks) which share many of the concerns raised by other biobanks. These include for example informed consent, ethical use of samples, data protection, privacy and sharing of benefits. I will explore role of stool biobanks in the treatment of gastrointestinal infections against a backdrop of increasing antimicrobial resistance and discuss some of their ethical, legal and societal aspects. Faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), is an intervention whereby the gut microbiota from strictly screened healthy donors replaces disease-causing intestinal flora. The procedure poses an interesting regulatory and legal problem: how should we "classify" stools and FMT? The prevailing view in some countries (e.g. Denmark) is that they should be dealt with as tissues or cells [according to the EU Tissue and Cells Directive (2004/23/EC)]. While others opted to treat it as if it were a drug (UK, US and Canada, for example). I will discuss the implications of these differing classifications and how our close association with the gut flora calls into question what it is to be human.

The colloquium will take place on Zoom: https://aarhusuniversity.zoom.us/j/66542669940