The Belmont Report and informed consent: the impact on unspecified future research.

Date of Award


Document Type



Caspersen School of Graduate Studies

Degree Name

Master of Medical Humanities


This thesis will examine informed consent and its relationship to unspecified future research with specimens stored in biorepositories. [Note: A Biorepository is a biological materials repository that collects, processes, stores, and distributes biospecimens to support future scientific investigation Biorepositories can contain or manage specimens from animals, including humans, and many other living organisms.] These biorepositories link an individual's specimens, such as tissue or blood, with his/her medical or personal data, and researchers can analyze these samples from a large number of people in order to better understand diseases and conditions. While the original intention of The Belmont Report was to protect human research subjects from physical harms, such as those that occurred at Nuremberg and Tuskegee, it is evident that the ideas found within this powerful document can be applied to present research issues, such as biorepository research and control over one's bio specimens and data. [Note: The Belmont Report summarizes ethical principles and guidelines for research involving human subjects. Three core principles are identified: respect for persons, beneficence, and justice.] With this purpose in mind, it is critical to review the difference between accepted medical treatment and what is considered to be research. I will also discuss ways to make this type of consent more amenable to those individuals who do not wish to have as much detailed information when making their decisions.