How do 66 European institutional review boards approve one protocol for an international prospective observational study on traumatic brain injury? Experiences from the CENTER-TBI study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Authors

  • CENTER-TBI Investigators and Participants

External organisations

  • Department of Medical Informatics, Erasmus University Medical Centre Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands.
  • University Neurosurgical Center Holland (UNCH)
  • Oxford Outcomes, an ICON Plc. Company, Oxford, UK.
  • Antwerp University Hospital and University of Antwerp
  • Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, University of Cambridge, Li Ka Shing Centre, Cambridge Department of Oncology, University of Cambridge, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge Cambridge Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre and NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre, Cambridge, UK.
  • Program for Autoimmune Liver Diseases, International Center for Digestive Health, Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Milan-Bicocca, Milan, Italy.
  • Department of Hematology; University of Milan; Milan Italy

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The European Union (EU) aims to optimize patient protection and efficiency of health-care research by harmonizing procedures across Member States. Nonetheless, further improvements are required to increase multicenter research efficiency. We investigated IRB procedures in a large prospective European multicenter study on traumatic brain injury (TBI), aiming to inform and stimulate initiatives to improve efficiency.

METHODS: We reviewed relevant documents regarding IRB submission and IRB approval from European neurotrauma centers participating in the Collaborative European NeuroTrauma Effectiveness Research in Traumatic Brain Injury (CENTER-TBI). Documents included detailed information on IRB procedures and the duration from IRB submission until approval(s). They were translated and analyzed to determine the level of harmonization of IRB procedures within Europe.

RESULTS: From 18 countries, 66 centers provided the requested documents. The primary IRB review was conducted centrally (N = 11, 61%) or locally (N = 7, 39%) and primary IRB approval was obtained after one (N = 8, 44%), two (N = 6, 33%) or three (N = 4, 23%) review rounds with a median duration of respectively 50 and 98 days until primary IRB approval. Additional IRB approval was required in 55% of countries and could increase duration to 535 days. Total duration from submission until required IRB approval was obtained was 114 days (IQR 75-224) and appeared to be shorter after submission to local IRBs compared to central IRBs (50 vs. 138 days, p = 0.0074).

CONCLUSION: We found variation in IRB procedures between and within European countries. There were differences in submission and approval requirements, number of review rounds and total duration. Research collaborations could benefit from the implementation of more uniform legislation and regulation while acknowledging local cultural habits and moral values between countries.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36
JournalBMC Medical Ethics
Volume21
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2020
Externally publishedYes