Policy ForumMedicine

IRB Review and Consent in Human Tissue Research

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Science  12 Mar 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5408, pp. 1647-1648
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5408.1647

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The use of human tissues in research is the focus of intense scrutiny and debate by researchers, ethicists, and policy-makers. Authors of published studies were surveyed to better understand the role of consent and institutional review board (IRB) oversight in contemporary human tissue research. Funded projects were more likely to be IRB-approved, nonapproved studies were more likely to use archived clinical samples, and nonapproved studies were more likely to use samples in identifiable form. It is concluded that education of the research community is necessary, that institutions should require review of research protocols, and that journals should adopt and enforce editorial policies requiring IRB approval.