The Havasupai Indian Tribe Case – Lessons for Research Involving Stored Biological Samples

- New England Journal of Medicine
Author/s: -Mello, Michelle M -Wolf, Leslie E
Journal: New England Journal of Medicine
Year: 2010
Volume: 363
Pages: 204
Start Page: 204

On April 20, 2010, Arizona State University (ASU) agreed to pay $700,000 to 41 members of the Havasupai Indian tribe to settle legal claims that university researchers improperly used tribe members’ blood samples in genetic research. The settlement closes a difficult chapter for both parties but leaves open a bedeviling question for genetic research: What constitutes adequate informed consent for biospecimens collected for research to be stored and used in future, possibly unrelated studies? The case illuminates the clashing values that have driven debate in this area and the importance of understanding the study population’s perspectives.