Tuesday, September 14, 2010

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Where does your tissues go?!?

Where does your cells and tissues go after your laboratory for a medical check-up?!?

Today most of us have our tissues on file somewhere. When we go to the doctor for a routine blood tests or have our mole or warts removed, the stuff that we leave behind doesn't always go to waste. I even wonder what will happen to those blood excess they get from me when I have my laboratories. They would extract a full 10, 20 or 40 ml of our blood but they would only used a very few amount to use in test.

Say, you want your blood check for a type of blood. You want to know if you are type A, B, O or AB type. They would get a full amount of blood but only use a drop. Huh, what would they do of those excess? I thought they throw it away. But browsing the net, I found out that they didn't.

The doctors put them aside and save them for use to some test especially if you have a certain disease or if you need some especial treatment to attend to or that your illness catch their interest to study. They use those blood or tissues of you for some study.

According to the article I read, the RAND Corporation has published a report in 1999 that more than 307 million tissue samples from more than 178 million people were stored in the United States ONLY and it was increasing by more than 20 million samples each year. These samples came fron those routine medical procedures, tests, operations, and others from donations. What will they gonna do with so much tissue sample?

Scientists use these tissue samples to develop everything, especially medicines such as flu vaccines to botox and beauty care. They would put cells in culture dishes and expose them to radiation, drugs, cosmetics, viruses, chemicals other foreign materials and study their reactions. Without these tissues, there would be no tests to treat certain diseases like tuberculosis and HIV; no vaccines for rabies, measles and chickenpox; there would be no medicine for cancer.

But these tissues are our property, taken from us with the knowledge that it will be use for our treatment. But how would you feel if you learn that scientists earned millions by studying them, without our knowledge? How would you feel learning that some people earn so much from something we own, without our consent?

It's not as if they are stealing our arm, our eyes, or some vital organs. Actually, they are using tissue scraps that we voluntarily given. But people have strong sense of ownership, and those tissue scraps are ours, been part of our body, however tiny they are.

But the question is, can we sue them? Them, who are using these tissues for their gain? I don't think so. Would a feeling of ownership will hold in court? Maybe not.

These cells, these tissues, once part of our body was clearly our property, but once it has been excised, once we voluntarily allowed it to be removed, our ownership rights gets murky.

The article I have researched on discusses a lot more thing. But in the end, the question whether we have the right of those tissues and wether we can charge the scientist, or if we can sue them by using our tissues for study and earning is still unanswered.

So I am thinking myself. Can I really claimed those tissues I parted with voluntarily as mine? Should I react negatively if I learned that my tissues are used for study and for self-gain? Shouldn't I be thankful that in some ways, simple ways, each of us helped in providing something useful and beneficial? But why should we pay so much for medicine when in the first place they have use part of us for free? ?? **(-.\)

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