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Biomedical scientists say it has become increasingly difficult to get access to the human tissue necessary for research that can save lives.

Garry Jennings, who is the director of the Baker Heart Research Institute and the Alfred Hospital as well as president-elect of the Australian Association of Medical Research Institutes suggests:

“Our experience is that the consumers who serve on ethics committees are not the difficulty,” Professor Jennings said. “They actually see the value in maximising the use of any human tissue that becomes available. “It’s either the lawyers or the professional ethicists on the committees who really take a position on behalf of the consumers that I think in some cases may be stronger than the consumers might take themselves.”


What Dr. Jennings fails to recognize is that many of the patients are not fully informed as to where the tissue may eventually end up. For example, as reported by investigative reporter Annie Cheney in her recent book Body Brokers,

big bucks are waiting for the cold-blooded entrepreneur ready to carve human bodies up like chickens and parcel them out to the highest bidder for such uses as military bomb test dummies, lifelike operative subjects for medical seminars, and resource troves for the machine-tooling of bones into orthopedic apparatus.

The Bottom line is that while tissue and blood products are needed to advance science and save lives, there is a question as to whether science or the cold-blooded entrepreneur is the true beneficiary of the good wishes of tissue donors.

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