PATIENT CONSENT: Does Governor plan to require it for Genomics Research initiative?

(St. Paul, Minnesota) - As Governor Tim Pawlenty laid down his ultimatum for the bonding bill - he won't sign it unless funding for a genomics research building at the Mayo Clinic is in the bill - Citizens' Council on Health Care (CCHC) was asking the question all citizens of Minnesota, and all patients at the Mayo Clinic may soon be asking:

"Will patient consent be required?"

"Genetic testing can be a very sensitive issue for patients and citizens alike. If state taxpayers are going to fund DNA-based research at the Mayo Clinic, shouldn't the Governor at least promise patients that it won't be done without their consent and knowledge?" asks Twila Brase, president of CCHC.

Housed at Mayo Clinic is a repository of at least 10 million patient tissue and serum samples discarded during surgery and other medical procedures. In addition, according to the Governor, 15,000 more blood and tissue samples arrive at the Mayo Clinic for analysis every day. According to news reports, the Mayo Clinic's electronic medical record system houses medical data on approximately 4 million patients - and is preparing to accept genetic data.

Minnesota law does not currently address research using tissue and serum samples.

Last year, according to Ms. Brase, authors of the genomics research funding bill and the genomics research bonding bill expressed little interest in attaching patient consent requirements to the legislation. Due to unusual session politics, the bills did not pass last year, but are expected to pass this year.

"Leaders of this initiative must assure citizens and patients that their genetic codes are safe in Minnesota. Citizens must know that their DNA is untouchable unless they say so. Patient consent is key," Ms. Brase emphasizes.

Media Contact:

Twila Brase, President
Phone: 651-646-8935 (office)