Incidental findings of therapeutic misconception in biobank-based research.

Research paper by Colin M E CM Halverson, Lainie Friedman LF Ross

Indexed on: 21 Jan '12Published on: 21 Jan '12Published in: Genetics in Medicine


This article explores expressions of therapeutic misconception (TM) in a deliberative-engagement project focused on the return of aggregate and individual genetic results from biobank-based research.We enrolled 45 self-described African Americans in a deliberative-engagement project to explore their attitudes regarding the return of results from biobank-based research. Four groups of individuals participated in four sessions over 2 days that included both educational and focus-group components.TM was expressed by individuals from both clinics on each day that they met. Three main typological categories of TM were noted: (i) the reasons for consenting to participate in a biobank, (ii) the conflation of research with clinical care, and (iii) mistrust about the meaning of biomedical research findings.Although trust may explain why some research participants express TM, it was also fueled by mistrust (e.g., a disbelief that a condition described as untreatable was truly untreatable). We also found that TM is not due solely to research participants' misunderstandings but is a bidirectional phenomenon that can be exacerbated by researchers. This finding raises questions about how to engage prospective research participants in the long-term goals of biobank-based research without unintentionally overstating possible short-term clinical benefits.