Saint Louis University's Office of Research Integrity is planning to restructure the SLU Institutional Review Board (IRB). Currently, SLU has three boards: two that review biomedical research and one that reviews behavioral and social sciences (BSS) research. As of January 2012, SLU will consolidate those boards, such that two boards will review all types of campus research.
Current IRB members will continue to serve on the newly constituted boards, with representation from various scientific disciplines, health care ethics and the community. The new structure will require fewer full-board members, but will supplement review of protocols with IRB consultants (SLU faculty/staff and external scientists) who have expertise in specific areas of research.
Two developments prompted the restructuring: SLU's decision to retain Western IRB (WIRB, an accredited Central IRB) to oversee review of eligible multi-center, industry-sponsored biomedical research at SLU, and the small number of BSS protocols requiring full-board review.
The decision to retain Western IRB was in response to the needs of SLU clinical investigators. In addition, WIRB currently services 90 percent of the pharmaceutical companies that sponsor SLU clinical trials. WIRB review will begin with the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Department of Internal Medicine) in early 2012 and will expand to other divisions/departments over the 2012 calendar year.
The IRB will modify its website, guidance documents and forms to reflect these changes.
If there are questions about the impending restructure of the SLU IRB, contact the IRB office at 314-977-7744 or the IRB administrative chair, John Chibnall, Ph.D., at 314-977-4807.