WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court sided with Washington University in St. Louis today in a case against Dr. William Catalona, a nationally known urologist, over who owns patients’ donated cancer tissue. The justices, without comment, upheld lower court rulings in favor of Washington University.
Catalona received thousands of patient specimens before he left for Northwestern University in 2003. Washington University sued after thousands of Catalona’s patients requested that their specimens be sent to him.The lower courts ruled that the patients gave up their rights to their tissues and that Washington University owned them. Catalona’s attorneys argued that federally funded institutions are barred from asking research subjects to waive their legal rights.