A Model for Accelerating Translational Research in Real Time

Before a clinical trial can begin, an institutional review board (IRB) must determine that the study is ethical and that participants’ rights are protected. This oversight step is crucial, but it can take a long time and delay studies from starting, particularly those at multiple sites. In response to numerous calls to reduce review times, the Clinical & Translational Science Institute of Southeast Wisconsin at the Medical College of Wisconsin devised "Real-Time IRB," a process that drastically reduces IRB review time.

In this, investigators and study staff attend the IRB meeting and make changes to the protocol while the IRB continues its meeting, so that final approval can be issued at the meeting. This achieved an overall reduction in time from submission to the IRB to final approval of 40%. While this process is time and resource intensive, and cannot address all delays in research, it shows great promise for increasing the pace by which research is translated to patient care.