NIH Sep 26, 2009 | RC1

Returning Individual Genetic Research Results to Parents and Children

Principal Investigator(s): Holm, Ingrid

Institution: Children's Hospital Boston

FOA Number: RFA-OD-09-003


The mapping of the human genome has allowed researchers to discover new relationships between genotype and phenotype, and has provided the basis for genome-informed medical decision-making that will lead to diagnoses and therapies that are targeted, have reduced variability, maximize efficacy, and minimize adverse effects. As information of greater health significance is generated by genomic research, there is an emerging consensus that the ethical return of genomic information will be needed. The goal of this proposal is to understand the attitudes of participants in genomic research towards the return of research results in the setting where the participant is a child and the receiver of the information is the parent. We will take advantage of a large genotype-phenotype project initiated by our group at Children's Hospital Boston (CHB) based on the Informed Cohort, a new paradigm for genomic research that we developed. The Informed Cohort is a model for the ethical recruitment of participants into a longitudinal genotype-phenotype registry and reconciles the "paradox" of maintaining participant privacy, yet providing results. We call the implementation of the Informed Cohort model at CHB the "Gene Partnership Project" (GPP). GPP is a longitudinal genotype-phenotype registry that uses a messaging system through the CHB personally- controlled health record (PCHR) to facilitate the disclosure of research results back to the participants. The "Informed Cohort Oversight Board" (ICOB) will provide the crucial oversight of the communication of results back to participants. While the enrollment of children might seem to present additional ethical obstacles, we see the natural participation of the "family unit" that occurs in pediatric hospital as an advantage for GPP. While we have implemented GPP, we do not know what factors will maximize its benefit and appeal for participants and families. We therefore propose a multi-step evaluation of the GPP and the messaging system. We do not know how parents view studies where they receive research results back on their children. To address this issue we will assess the interest of parents to participate in a genotype-phenotype study focused on their children, and determine if they would want to receive genetic information back from the study about their child. We also do not know how participants will perceive the messaging when it occurs. Thus, we will assess the use of the PCHR-based messaging system by parents of participants enrolled in GPP. Finally, a functioning ICOB will be paramount for the process of returning research results to be successful, yet we do not know how the ICOB will function. Since further work is required to ensure that the ICOB is a workable model for decision-making, we will develop the "Informed Cohort Oversight Board". The knowledge gained from the proposed project on the ethical return of research results to participants will be critical as we move towards a paradigm where individuals directly benefit from the genomic research they participate in, and eventually from genomic medicine.




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Start Date:
Sep 26, 2009

End Date:
Jul 31, 2011



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