BSD/UCMC IRB News

COVID-19 News

The Office of Clinical Research is open virtually and fully operational. All staff are working remotely and most meetings are being held virtually. Staff are happy to arrange Zoom meetings or conference calls with researchers and staff as needed.

Please send an email to COVID19-IRB@bsd.uchicago.edu if you have a question about COVID-19 related research or an amendment to an existing study that is needed due to the current circumstances. Please also send an email to this address to alert the IRB about any submissions that you would like to request be fast-tracked due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please see the attached FAQs for IRB-specific questions related to COVID-19 and its impact on new and existing research: COVID19 FAQs

 

Please see below for more information on recent IRB changes and events. 

Please also visit the Office of Clinical Research page. 

A revised consent/authorization form template is now available for use. The new version is dated March 2021. An edit has been made to the template text in the "What Are the Costs" section for clinical trials. Please contact the IRB office if you have questions about the new language.

 

BSD/UCMC consent/authorization form template (March 2021 version)

2/24/21

An updated Policies and Procedures Manual has been posted. Revisions include:

  1. Added text to define “individually identifiable information” as containing one or more elements of PHI as defined by HIPAA.
  2. Added text to state that re-opening a permanently closed study to enrollment would require a new protocol submission rather than an amendment.
  3. Revised section I.D. to state that IRB determination letters do not require a signature (IRB Chair or otherwise).
  4. Removed gender binary language throughout, e.g. “he or she.”
  5. Minor editorial changes.

Please see the Policies & Procedures page for the updated manual.

As of February 1, 2021, submitting budget/contract documents at the same time as the IRB submission is no longer required. A copy of the memo detailing this change can be found here.

The IRB new submission acceptance requirements were updated to reflect this change.  

If a project requires clinical/research billing, both the IRB submission and ROC submission processes continue to require Medicare Coverage Analysis (MCA), which is commonly referred to as the schema and schema review memo. This is essential documentation that is used by both ROC and IRB during their review processes. An ARTEMIS record cannot be routed to OCR prior to an associated AURA IRB. For projects with clinical/ research billing an IRB AURA record cannot be submitted without an ARTEMIS record being created. If you have questions please direct them to the Office of Clinical Research [OCR] clinicresearch@bsd.uchicago.edu

12/26/19

An updated Policies and Procedures Manual has been posted. Revisions include:

  1. Added text indicating that grant congruency review is no longer required of the IRB by the federal regulations at 45CFR46.
  2. Added policy on emergency waiver of informed consent.
  3. Added text to the “Amendments” section: if study is open to enrollment and/or has active subjects, revised consent form is required when submitting risk changes (i.e. new IBs) to studies where consent is required – or – study team must provide confirmation as to how risks will be communicated to subjects.  
  4. Clarified that requirements for approval of research with prisoners apply to “federally-regulated” research.
  5. Revised language regarding IRB’s role under HIPAA to clarify that IRB performs HIPAA review functions.

Please see the Policies & Procedures page for the updated manual.

A revised consent/authorization form template is now available for use. The new version is dated November 2019. Suggested text as well as sample text has been added to the "What about confidentiality" section. Please contact the IRB office if you have questions about when to include the new language.

 

BSD/UCMC consent/authorization form template (November 2019 version)

Over the past few months, the IRB offices have been considering changes to streamline their processes and to decrease the turnaround times for new protocols. Currently, the IRB processes for new protocols involve submission of studies for a stated deadline with subsequent review by the fully convened Committee three weeks later. Currently, there are two deadlines per month. In reviewing data from the past six months, approximately 60% of submissions that were submitted by the deadline are not able to be reviewed by the IRB Committee. Reasons for the delay include lack of a response to the IRB administrative review, lack of submission of budget and contract documents to the Office of Clinical Research, as well as other issues, including incomplete submissions.

In light of these findings, the IRB office (effective July 1) will no longer post new submission deadlines. The IRB staff will process protocol submissions for full review on a weekly basis. The IRB administrators will complete the preliminary review process and upon receipt of a “complete” IRB submission, the protocol will be placed on the next available meeting agenda. 

The IRB staff has prepared guidance for what constitutes an acceptable submission to be considered for preliminary processing as well as what constitutes a “complete” submission in order to be assigned to a meeting agenda. The IRB staff will follow these standardized, published checklists when determining what studies are ready for IRB review.

Our goals are to increase standardization of IRB admin comments and decrease the protocol turnaround times between acceptance for submission and final approval. We will be tracking this data over the next several months to determine whether or not this change in process has resulted in a decrease in turnaround times.

 

5/14/19

An updated Policies and Procedures Manual has been posted. Revisions include:

  1. Clarified text regarding continuing reviews to state that policy applies only if continuing review is a requirement for that study
  2. Added section “Deception and Withholding Information”
  3. Re-ordered sections due to addition of section on deception and withholding of information
  4. Revised new protocol submission policy to state that submissions must be complete to be reviewed by the IRB
  5. Clarified emergency use procedure for timeline to report to FDA (5 days) and
  6. Clarified timeline for reporting unanticipated device effects to FDA (10 days).

Please see the Policies & Procedures page for the updated manual.

1/18/19

An updated Policies and Procedures Manual has been posted. Revisions include:

  1. Implemented requirements of revised Common Rule throughout
  2. Revised unanticipated problem reporting policy to reflect that internal events should be reported “in a timely manner” (this language matches FDA guidance on reporting timelines)
  3. Revised policy on consenting individuals who cannot read or write to reflect two separate populations: low literacy subjects and physically disabled subjects and
  4. Minor editorial changes. 

IMPLEMENTATION DATE: JANUARY 21, 2019

Major Changes of the Revised Common Rule Regulations
The 2018 Requirements focus on reducing administrative burden and aligning protection of human subjects with level of research risk. Several of the changes reduce or remove requirements for low-risk research, while other changes offer additional flexibility within the current framework.

  • New Exempt Categories:
    • Research with benign behavioral interventions (will likely result in the majority of currently-expedited social-behavioral-educational research being exempt)
    • Secondary research use of information/biospecimens protected by HIPAA
  • Removal of renewal requirements for expedited research and full Board research which is now in long-term follow-up only or data analysis only. U of C will consider the flexibility of this approach on an individual protocol basis at the time of continuing review for all previously approved research, as the FDA regulations have NOT been revised to remove the continuing review requirement.
  • Informed Consent Impacts:
    • Consent must begin with a concise and focused presentation of key information which participants want in order to make a decision (e.g. statement that the project is research and that participation is voluntary and a summary of the purpose, duration, procedures, risks, discomforts, benefits, appropriate alternatives, costs and payment).
    • New elements of informed consent must be included (when applicable):
      • Potential for future use of deidentified information
      • Potential for commercial profit and sharing of profits with subjects
      • Whether clinically relevant research results will be disclosed to subjects and, if so, under what conditions
      • For research involving biospecimens, whether the research will involve whole genome sequencing

What to Expect
The 2018 Requirements will result in a large number of changes to Institutional Review Board policies and procedures.
 

  • Implementing the Informed Consent Changes
  1. Concise Presentation: The new regulations require that consent begin with a concise and focused presentation of key information which participants need to make a decision, and which explains why a potential subject might or might not want to participate. The goal of this concise presentation is to provide a summary of the research up front so potential participants can more easily understand the research and the consequences of participation, both positive and negative. The consent form template includes suggested language for this section. In addition, sample text has been provided based upon study type.
  2. New Elements of Informed Consent: The revised regulations also add four new elements of informed consent. These elements represent additional information which must be included in the informed consent form and presented to potential subjects, when applicable. Suggested language for each of these new elements is included in the revised informed consent template.
  3. Using the Informed Consent Templates: Revised informed consent templates have been published to the IRB website. The revised informed consent template should be utilized for all new studies submitted for IRB review. Research which is approved on or after January 21, 2019, must meet the new requirements; as such, informed consent forms for those studies must include the concise presentation/summary and additional elements of informed consent. The IRB will consider, at the time of continuing review, whether or not existing studies will need to be amended to comply with the new requirements.
  4. Revisions to Waiver of Consent Criteria: Research which meets certain criteria may be eligible for a waiver (or modification) of the informed consent process. The revised Common Rule adds one new criterion to this list. Specifically, if the research involves utilization of identifiable information or biospecimens, the investigator must justify that the research could not practicably be carried out without the use of identifiers.
  5. Posting of Consent Forms: The new regulations also require posting of the consent form document for all federally funded clinical trials on a publicly accessible website. One IRB approved consent form that was used to enroll subjects must be posted on a federal website once the study has been closed to recruitment and within 60 days of the last study visit by any subject. At this time, two publicly available federal websites that will satisfy the consent form posting requirement: ClinicalTrials.gov and a docket folder on Regulations.gov (Docket ID: HHS-OPHS-2018-0021).  We have been told that HHS and other Common Rule departments and agencies are developing instructions and other materials providing more information to the regulated community about this posting requirement. However, this guidance has not been published. It should be noted that this requirement will only be relevant for studies approved under the new  Common Rule. At this time, there is no expectation to post clinical trial consent forms for studies approved prior to this date.
  • AURA-IRB Changes: The AURA-IRB form was revised to reflect requirements in the revised Common Rule. The new version of the AURA-IRB form went live January 2019.