Why use human tissue in research?
The use of tissue in research can help to understand the causes of diseases better, prevent them, treat them and find a cure. Unfortunately, the animal model is not always relevant when it comes to brain diseases. Only human tissue holds the secret to some human mental disorders. The use of human brains in research can also help better understand the effects that other diseases, such as diabetes, cancer and vascular disease, can have on the brain.
Where does the human tissue used in research come from?
In some cases, tissue from biopsies or surgeries (i.e., taken from living donors) can be used partly for research, provided the donor has been adequately informed and has given consent. In addition, a person may consent during their lifetime to have one or more of their organs or tissues removed after their death to be preserved and used for research purposes. If a potential donor is incapable of giving consent, their legal representative (guardian, curator or mandatary) or, failing that, their married spouse or next of kin (if unmarried) may give consent in their place. The availability of such tissues, whether pathological or not, is of paramount importance for advancing biomedical knowledge.
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