The Central Beryllium Institutional Review Board to Hold First Meeting


The Central Beryllium Institutional Review Board (CbeIRB) recently established by the Office of Science with support from the Office of Environment, Safety, and Health will hold its first meeting in Knoxville, Tennessee, on December 17 & 18, 2001. The Board is the first such body to be convened to assist DOE in ensuring effective, consistent, and continuing protection of human participants in Beryllium research across the Department. The concept of a central IRB is unique in the interagency human subjects community following a model that is used by the National Cancer Institute to review trials that are conducted at many sites across the country. The Board, administered under a Health and Human Services approval at Oak Ridge Associated Universities, will review projects for all DOE sites where such research is carried out. The IRB membership is a stellar roster of experts representing occupational medicine, industry, workers, unions, ethicists, the law, science, industrial hygiene, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, and DOE operations offices and national laboratories. The Board expects to meet 3 or 4 times a year. The initial meeting will focus on human subjects bioethics and regulatory education and implementation, beryllium disease and science updates, and the concept of consent before beginning the review of the projects needing approval. Current human subjects regulations were drafted early in the 1980s but not formally codified by 17 agencies and departments until 1991. The Office of Science Biological and Environmental Research program has responsibility for human subjects research on behalf of all DOE.