Organoids for personalized treatment of Cystic Fibrosis: Professional perspectives on the ethics and governance of organoid biobanking

Lensink, Michael A., Boers, Sarah N., Jongsma, Karin R., Carter, Sarah E., van der Ent, Cornelis K. & Bredenoord, Annelien L.

Published: 2020


Background Organoid technology is emerging rapidly as a valuable tool for precision medicine, particularly in the field of Cystic Fibrosis (CF). However, biobank storage and use of patient-derived organoids raises specific ethical and practical challenges that demand sound governance. We examined the perspectives of professionals affiliated with CF or organoids on the ethical aspects of organoid biobanking for CF precision medicine. By conducting this study parallel to the process of innovation and development of organoid biobanking, its findings are valuable for the design of responsible governance frameworks. Methods To identify relevant themes and attitudes we conducted 21 semi-structured qualitative interviews with professionals in the field of organoid technology, biobanking, or CF research and care. Results We identified three key challenges, as well as the suggestions of professionals on how to address them: (1) The challenges associated with commercial involvement, trust, and ownership, (2) Navigating the blurring boundary between research and clinical care, (3) Appropriate approaches to the informed consent procedure. Conclusion Sound governance of organoid biobanks aimed at precision medicine requires coming to terms with the fact that its stakeholders no longer belong to separate domains. Responsible governance should be aimed at finding a sound, context-sensitive balance between integration of ongoing co-operation and mutual consideration of interests, and maintaining a feasible and sustainable research climate.

Full Access Link: Journal of Cystic Fibrosis