Ask A Scientist:
Are Your Blood Samples Collected Ethically?

ask a scientist

ask a scientist

If you’ve ever purchased human cells for research, you’ve probably thought about the blood donors:

Did my supplier source these samples responsibly?

Did they follow ethical practices and recommended guidelines?

If these cells were sourced unethically, will I get in trouble for using them?

We’re here to give you some peace of mind and tips for identifying ethical suppliers.

Challenges in Blood Collection

Sourcing blood samples using responsible practices can be difficult, and some suppliers will take shortcuts to get the volume of samples they need. Cell suppliers should not source blood from vulnerable populations or without informed consent.

But how can you tell if a supplier has sourced their blood samples using unethical practices? Our checklist has several things to look for when choosing a supplier to be sure the cells you purchase are compliant.

Immune Cell Buying Checklist — Is My Supplier Ethical?

When in doubt, ask your supplier about their collection practices. They should be able to give you quick, confident answers to all of these questions:

  • Do you source blood from any of the following?
    • Family members
    • Employees
    • Pregnant women
    • People with disabilities
  • Do you have a collection practice approval letter from an accredited, independent review board?
  • Do you have a standard donor consent form?
  • How do you ensure donor privacy?
  • How do you screen for donor health?

 

Real-Life Issues with Unethical Cell Collection — The Henrietta Lacks Story

Cells that were harvested unknowingly from a cancer patient in 1951 remain a controversial topic on ethics, consent, and patient rights in 2017. Lacks’ cervix cells were collected without her permission and were used for the development of the HeLa immortal cell line, which is still used in biomedical research today.

Ensure your future research discoveries aren’t marred by controversy by screening suppliers for ethical collection practices.

Always Ethical, Guaranteed

If you have any questions about Astarte’s collection protocols, we are happy to answer them! We take great care to ensure our blood samples are collected following ethical standards. Our collection protocols include:

  • Donor medical history to be sure there are no issues that would put the donor or those that use the cells at risk
  • Complete blood counts on the donor to be sure they have adequate cell counts
  • Testing for blood-borne pathogens such as HIV, Hepatitis B and C, and West Nile Virus
  • Review of our procedures by an IRB
  • Informed consent of the donors, including risks, benefits, and use of protected health information

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