Hinnovic » Ethical Considerations of Tissue Engineering

Ethical Considerations of Tissue Engineering

Ethical Considerations of Tissue EngineeringWould you feel comfortable with the idea that your cells might be used to regenerate tissues in the body of a person you never met? Or the other way around, would you agree to get new tissues with cells coming from an anonymous person? Even if the applications of tissue engineering are still limited, it is important to start thinking about ethical considerations specific to this new field. Because of its complexity and its ability to regenerate tissues, previously unknown problems may emerge.


Different approaches address ethical considerations of tissue engineering: research ethics, socioeconomic issues and anthropological issues. The questions they raise are likely to feed future debates.


Research ethics

  • When asking the consent of cell donors, it is important to inform them of the use of their tissue. But will researchers explain clearly what they will do with the cells and what kind of tests they will perform? Will the information provided be sufficient?

  • Can the human body and its parts be subject to property rights?

Truly informed consent?  


Socioeconomic and political issues

  • What will be the cost of tissue engineering products and treatments?

  • Who will finance the research? The government or the private sector?

  • Who will be given priority to receive these treatments? Young people with congenital diseases or the elderly who suffer from degenerative diseases?

Where does the money come from? Where do the treatments go?  


Anthropological issues

  • Is it ethically right to fight the negative effects of ageing? Is extending life always a good thing?

  • Have we thought about the consequences of having an ageing society?

  • Should we use tissue engineering to enhance human capabilities?

Have we thought about the consequences of an aging society?  


Author : Pauline Boinot, M.Sc.




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