Developing a policy for paediatric biobanks: principles for good practice

Kristien Hens*, Carla E. Van El, Pascal Borry, Anne Cambon-Thomsen, Martina C. Cornel, Francesca Forzano, Anneke Lucassen, Christine Patch, Lisbeth Tranebjaerg, Eric Vermeulen, Elena Salvaterra, Aad Tibben, Kris Dierickx

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The participation of minors in biobank research can offer great benefits for science and health care. However, as minors are a vulnerable population they are also in need of adequate protective measures when they are enrolled in research. Research using biobanked biological samples from children poses additional ethical issues to those raised by research using adult biobanks. For example, small children have only limited capacity, if any, to understand the meaning and implications of the research and to give a documented agreement to it. Older minors are gradually acquiring this capacity. We describe principles for good practice related to the inclusion of minors in biobank research, focusing on issues related to benefits and subsidiarity, consent, proportionality and return of results. Some of these issues are currently heavily debated, and we conclude by providing principles for good practice for policy makers of biobanks, researchers and anyone involved in dealing with stored tissue samples from children. Actual implementation of the principles will vary according to different jurisdictions. European Journal of Human Genetics (2013) 21, 2-7; doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2012.99; published online 20 June 2012
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-7
JournalEuropean Journal of Human Genetics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


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