Parthasarathy ponders cell "ownership"

January 5, 2021 NPR Planet Money

Ford School professor Shobita Parthasarathy believes that as a matter of public policy, people should have more control over what researchers can do with their cells. In a recent segment on NPR's Planet Money, she noted that you can find human cells, cell lines, and other material for sale on websites. because "enterprising people see a market, as they often do."

When a person has a medical procedure, they often sign a consent form relinquishing any financial interests, without knowing anything about what might happen to those cells. She asks, "If you take cells out of the body, do you really own them anymore? Do you really have an interest in them?"