Informed Consent in Clinical Trials Using Stem Cells: Suggestions and Points of Attention from Informed Consent Training Workshops in Japan

M Kusunose, F Nagamura, K Muto


Informed consent (IC) is an essential requirement of ethical research involving human participants, and usually is achieved by providing prospective research participants (PRPs) with a document that explains the study and its procedures. However, results of a series of IC workshops held in Tokyo during 2014 indicate that consent forms alone are not enough to achieve full IC in regenerative medicine research due to the necessity of long-term patient-safety observations to meet the ethical challenges of such research. Adequate training of the people who are responsible for obtaining IC (elucidators) is also necessary to ensure full IC. Elucidators must be able to provide PRPs with sufficient information to assure adequate comprehension of the study and its potential aftereffects; judge PRPs’ voluntariness and eligibility; and establish/maintain partnerships with PRPs. The workshops used role-playing simulations to demonstrate how to effectively obtain fuller IC to members of several Japanese research groups preparing for clinical stem cell trials. Workshop results were correlated with the results of a 2013 workshop on what information is patients want when considering participation in iPSC research. The correlated results showed the need for continuous training and education of elucidators in order to have them acquire and maintain IC competency. 

Authors' affiliations

M Kusunose, University of Tokyo

F Nagamura,

K Muto,

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informed consent, stem cell research, clinical trials, competency

Cite this article

South African Journal of Bioethics and Law 2015;8(2):49. DOI:10.7196/SAJBL.8016

Article History

Date submitted: 2015-06-05
Date published: 2015-09-16

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