Access to Human Cells and Tissues
Improving methods for diagnosis and treatment depend on a better understanding of the biological mechanisms of disease. In the past the tool of choice has been an animal model or a cell line, but increasingly the limited value of this material has been recognised. In the clinic we treat humans, and the ideal model to understand the disease we aim to treat is therefore the human. However, access to human tissue is not always easy or practical, and is complicated by ethics and legislation over both data and tissue samples. The well-being of the donor of the material is paramount, and must never be compromised by the acquisition of samples for research. This chapter will provide an overview of the obstacles that exist to accessing ethically sourced human material for laboratory scientists and suggests models that can be used to facilitate access.