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Market-driven production of biospecimens and the role of NHS hospital-led biobanks

Timmons, Stephen; Vezyridis, Paraskevas


Professor of Health Services Management


Biobanks are vital for biospecimen production in research, despite the regulatory, recruitment and commercial difficulties they face. We conducted interviews with clinicians, researchers, volunteers who recruit biobank participants, regulators and NHS managers about the integration of a biobank into an NHS hospital. We show that medical waste collected for biomedical research acquires its socio-ethical and economic value from the level of integration (both technologically and organisationally) of the biobank into the NHS hospital. There is extensive investment in a range of intellectual and commercial relationships and labour among stakeholders involved in the production of biospecimens. It is not only the boundaries of research, clinical care and commercialisation of biospecimens that blur but also those of volunteerism and citizenship. Hospital-led biobanks provide an opportunity to study the intertwining of biomedical innovation and healthcare.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 27, 2017
Online Publication Date May 27, 2017
Publication Date Sep 15, 2017
Deposit Date May 4, 2017
Publicly Available Date May 28, 2019
Journal Sociology of Health and Illness
Print ISSN 0141-9889
Electronic ISSN 1467-9566
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 39
Issue 7
Pages 1242-1257
Keywords Biobank, Volunteers, NHS hospital, Market, Bioresource
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Timmons, S. and Vezyridis, P. (2017), Market-driven production of biospecimens and the role of NHS hospital-led biobanks. Sociol Health Illn. doi:10.1111/1467-9566.12584 which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.


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