The NIH has issued a final policy requiring the use of a single institutional review board (sIRB) for multi-site non-exempt human subjects research funded by the NIH. The policy will take effect May 25, 2017.
According to the policy announcement, “while the NIH anticipates that that there will be challenges associated with implementation, we expect these to be short-lived. Once the transition to the new way of operating is made, the benefits of widespread use of sIRBs will outweigh any costs and, ultimately, reduce burdens to the research process.”
In proposals submitted to the NIH, applicants will be expected to include a plan identifying the sIRB that will serve as the IRB of record for all study sites. It will be the applicants’ responsibility to assure that the sIRB is qualified to serve. NIH acceptance of the submitted plan will be incorporated as a term and condition in the award. Awardees will be responsible for ensuring that the authorization agreements between IRBs (“reliance agreements”) are in place.
According to the policy, “The additional costs associated with sIRB review may be charged to grants or contracts as direct costs, provided that such costs are well-justified and consistently treated as either direct or indirect costs according to applicable cost principles in the NIH Grants Policy Statement and the FAR 31.202 (Direct Costs) and FAR 31.203 (Indirect Costs).”
Before the policy takes effect, the NIH will be issuing guidance and resources to assist with implementation.
Read the full policy for additional details.
As part of their ongoing effort to improve the speed and efficiency of conducting clinical trials, the NIH-FDA Joint Leadership Council has created a draft clinical trial protocol template. The template contains instructional and sample text intended to assist NIH-funded investigators in writing protocols for phase 2 or 3 clinical trials that require Investigational New Drug (IND) or Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) applications. Feedback is sought from investigators, investigator-sponsors, institutional review board members, and other stakeholders involved in protocol development and review.
Our goal is to provide an organized way for creative investigators to describe their plans so that others can understand them. – Dr. Pamela McInnes, NIH
Details on the rationale and development of the protocol template are on these blog posts:
Notice Number: NOT-OD-16-043. Responses accepted through April 17, 2016.
You can access the template document as well as a template shell, comment form, and other resources at NIH’s Clinical Research Policy website.
The webinar copresented on March 2, 2016, by the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) program and PCORnet is available as a video and slideset.
Petra Kaufmann, MD, MSc
Director, Office of Rare Diseases Research and Division of Clinical Innovation
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences
National Institutes of Health
Rachael Fleurence, PhD
Program Director, CER Methods and Infrastructure Program
Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
Sabune J. Winkler, JD
Director, Regulatory Affairs Operations
March 2, 2016
3pm - 4pm ET
To join the WebEx, click here: http://bit.ly/1TGRTFS
Call-in number: 1-855-244-8681
Access code: 737 807 582
The NIH Collaboratory’s Health Care Systems Interactions Core has published a document entitled Lessons Learned from the NIH Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory Demonstration Projects. The Principal Investigators of each of the Demonstration Projects shared their trial-specific experience with the Core to develop the document, which presents problems and solutions for initiation and implementation of pragmatic clinical trials (PCTs). Lessons learned are divided into the following categories: build partnerships, define clinically important questions, assess feasibility, involve stakeholders in study design, consider institutional review board and regulatory issues, and assess potential issues with biostatistics and the analytic plan.
Other tools available from the Health Care Systems Interactions Core include a guidance document entitled Considerations for Training Front-Line Staff and Clinicians on Pragmatic Clinical Trial Procedures and an introduction to PCTs slide set.
The Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) has posted a series of six webinars explaining the recent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding revisions to the Common Rule (the federal policy for human subjects protection). The presentations by policy experts can be viewed anytime; they cover the following topics:
- Overview of the NPRM
- Exclusions and exemptions
- Informed consent
- IRB review and operations
- Research with biospecimens
- Secondary research use of data
For more information on the NPRM, visit the OHRP website. The deadline for comments on the proposed revision has been extended to January 6, 2016.
A new series of 12 articles published in a special issue of the journal Clinical Trials addresses ethical and regulatory challenges particular to pragmatic clinical research. Pragmatic clinical trials are designed to efficiently provide answers to important clinical questions, yet they present special challenges in conforming to the ethical and regulatory guidelines that were developed for more traditional clinical research. The special issue describes these challenges and begins to outline possible solutions that will protect the rights and welfare of research participants while allowing pragmatic clinical trials to gather much-needed evidence for informing healthcare decisions. An introductory article is followed by 11 articles addressing individual topics, such as alteration of informed consent, privacy, gatekeepers, and defining minimal risk research. The effort was funded by the NIH Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory, with additional support from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), and involved diverse groups of stakeholders, including researchers, patient advocates, bioethicists, and regulatory experts. Robert M. Califf, MD, and Jeremy Sugarman, MD, MPH, were editors of the special issue.
For more information:
The Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative (CTTI) has released new recommendations encouraging adoption of a central institutional review board (IRB) model for multicenter clinical trials. The recommendations are based on results from its Central IRB Advancement Project. Along with the recommendations, CTTI offers tools, including evaluation checklists and an IRB authorization agreement template, to help organizations implement a central IRB model.
Read the complete announcement on the CTTI blog.
On December 3, 2014, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued a draft policy promoting the use of a single institutional review board (IRB) for multisite studies. IRBs play a critical role in assuring the ethical conduct of research, and studies must be reviewed and approved by an IRB before they can begin. Yet over time, the clinical research landscape has become increasingly complex, expanding from studies formerly conducted at single institutions to large, diverse studies across networks and multiple sites. This situation challenges the practicality of using local IRBs to conduct initial and ongoing reviews for such studies.
The goal of permitting use of a single IRB—also called a central IRB or IRB of record—is to enhance and streamline the process of IRB review for multisite studies so that research can proceed efficiently without compromising ethical principles and protections. While both the FDA and Office for Human Research Protections support the use of a single IRB, too few institutions involved in multisite studies are taking advantage of the option.
Read the NIH draft policy here.
“By using single IRBs in multi-site studies, we reduce duplication of effort, speed the initiation of important research, and save time and taxpayer funds.”
Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, NIH Director
Among the current NIH programs incorporating the use of a single IRB are:
- National Cancer Institute’s Central Institutional Review Board (CIRB)
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke’s Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials (NeuroNEXT)
- Network for Stroke Research (NIH StrokeNet)
Dr. Sally Rockney, NIH deputy director for extramural research, explains the NIH perspective in her blog. Public comment on the draft policy extends for 60 days, through January 29, 2015. When finalized, the policy will apply to all NIH-funded multisite studies carried out in the United States, whether supported through grants, contracts, or the NIH intramural program.