Day: 24 March 2016

GA4GH

Harmonising ethics review for international research

TORONTO, CANADA (March 25, 2016) — Genomic research holds great potential to advance human health and medicine. However, for the millions of data points now being collected through large-scale sequencing efforts to be truly valuable, they must be analyzed in aggregate and shared across institutions and jurisdictions. But aggregating and sharing data brings many challenges, including the navigation of complex ethics approval processes at multiple sites and in multiple jurisdictions. To do this, researchers must often obtain ethics approval from research ethics committees (RECs) relating to the sites, who are responsible for protecting human research subjects from harm and ensuring their interests and welfare. In a Policy Forum article published this week in the journal Science, members of the Ethics Review Equivalency (ERE) Task Team of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) Regulatory and Ethics Working Group (REWG) discuss this challenge and ways to address it, particularly through ad hoc models for achieving ethics review “mutual recognition” around the globe. “As more data are shared and research becomes increasingly networked and collaborative, national research governance structures are beginning to address the need for harmonization of procedures and standards between RECs. For instance, only one REC is needed to […]

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