WebMD
Font Size
A
A
A

Institutional Review Board (IRB)

An institutional review board (IRB) is an independent committee made up of medical and nonmedical members, such as physicians, statisticians, and community advocates. It ensures that a clinical trial is ethical and that the rights of study participants are protected.

All institutions that conduct or support biomedical research involving people, by U.S. government regulation, must have an IRB that initially approves and periodically reviews the research.

An IRB reviews and approves protocols, informed-consent forms, physician credentials and eligibility, and other patient materials. The role of an IRB is to work closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make sure that patient safety is the main priority of a clinical trial.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Michael Seth Rabin, MD - Medical Oncology
Last Revised October 28, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 28, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.