Today, NCCS joined colleagues in the cancer community in submitting comments to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on the Draft NIH Policy on the Use of a Single Institutional Review Board for Multi-Site Research. We commend the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for taking this step to reduce duplication and inefficiency in the initiation and oversight of multi-site research studies. This policy will provide appropriate protections for research participants while encouraging greater efficiency in initiation and oversight of research.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has been a leader in enhancing review of human subjects research, administering the NCI Central Institutional Review Board and fostering efficiencies in the review of multi-center clinical trials. Other institutes at NIH have also pioneered centralized review efforts. We are pleased that NIH is moving beyond these innovative efforts to set a standard for NIH-funded institutions to use a single institutional review board (IRB) of record for domestic sites of multi-site studies. Because the single IRB policy represents a change in decades of research oversight and compliance practices, NIH should reinforce the new standards and provide clear guidance regarding implementation of the new standards.
In an era of restrained research resources, it is important that the research system embrace any opportunity to reduce duplication and enhance efficiency. We commend NIH for advancing a policy that encourages efficiency while still protecting those who participate in research.
NIH policy and request for comments: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-15-026.html