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Research Ethics Boards (REBs) are independent, multi-disciplinary committees that review the ethical acceptability of research involving humans. REBs that review biomedical research generally include doctors and other members of the scientific community, as well as non-scientific members with specific expertise, including ethicists, lawyers, privacy experts and community members. The REB’s role is to safeguard the rights and welfare of the individuals who volunteer to participate in research, by ensuring that the study sponsor and the researchers have adequately considered and applied the required ethical principles into the design and conduct of the research.
Since 2004, the Ontario Cancer Research Ethics Board (OCREB) has radically changed the research ethics environment for multi-centre cancer trials in Ontario. OCREB is a central, expert oncology REB serving the hospitals/cancer centres (study sites) in Ontario that conduct oncology clinical trials. OCREB’s centralized model means that once a study has been approved by OCREB, participating study sites can receive OCREB approval within days. This model not only provides a robust ethical focus on oncology research, but also streamlines the review process, minimizes redundancy, promotes consistency, and saves the time and cost of having the study reviewed by an REB at every participating institution/study site. Since its first meeting in January 2004, OCREB has been working with researchers, institutions and sponsors to safeguard the rights and welfare of research participants in Ontario, while advancing ethically sound cancer research.
OCREB is a program of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR), and it is an independent body operating at arm’s length from programmatic and research structures within the OICR. OCREB is accountable to the OICR Board of Directors through the OICR and OCREB Governance Committees.
For more information on how OCREB works, download the OCREB Overview [November 28, 2017].
For more information on OICR, visit https://www.oicr.on.ca/