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Ethical challenges and innovations in the dissemination of genomic data: the experience of the PERSPECTIVE project

Authors Lévesque E, Knoppers B, Simard J

Received 26 February 2015

Accepted for publication 11 May 2015

Published 12 August 2015 Volume 2015:5 Pages 283—292


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 5

Editor who approved publication: Dr John Martignetti

Emmanuelle Lévesque,1 Bartha Maria Knoppers,1 Jacques Simard,2

1Department of Human Genetics, Centre for Genomics and Policy, McGill University, Montréal, 2Genomics Centre, CHU de Québec Research Center, Department of Molecular Medicine, Laval University, Québec City, QC, Canada

Abstract: The importance of making genomic data available for future research is now widely recognized among the scientific community and policymakers. In this era of shared responsibility for data dissemination, improved patient care through research depends on the development of powerful and secure data-sharing systems. As part of the concerted effort to share research resources, the project entitled Personalized Risk Stratification for Prevention and Early Detection of Breast Cancer (PERSPECTIVE) makes effective data sharing through the development of a data-sharing framework, one of its goals. The secondary uses of data from PERSPECTIVE for future research promise to enhance our knowledge of breast cancer etiologies without duplicating data-gathering efforts. Despite its benefit for research, we recognize the ethical challenges of data sharing on the local, national, and international levels. The effective management of ethical approvals for projects spanning across jurisdictions, the return of results to research participants, and research incentives and recognition for data production, are but a few pressing issues that need to be properly addressed. We discuss how we managed these issues and suggest how ongoing innovations might help to facilitate data sharing in future genomic research projects.

Keywords: data sharing, research ethics, cancer

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