Some basic terms & principles

An introduction to samples & consent

Samples come in many forms, including:

  • Blood
  • Small bits of material (“tissue”) left over after an operation or a test
  • Whole organs or bodies

Your consent is usually required before your samples can be taken for research.

Medical research using human samples includes a huge range of methods including, in some cases, genetic analysis or the use of laboratory animals. Research may take place in Universities, other non-profit organisations or commercial organisations such as drug companies. These may be based in the UK or sometimes abroad.

Learn about donating samples for research

Genetic analysis usually involves the study of a donor’s DNA. This is important because the results may sometimes have implications for your family.

Laboratory animals are only rarely used in tissue based research. If they are the laboratory concerned will need to obtain a Home Office licence which ensures that the highest standards of care are used.