Not all research studies require a full review by the Institutional Review Board (IRB). Below are guidelines for determining if your study may be submitted for expedited review by the IRB. Please also review the guidelines for determining if your study may be petitionable for an IRB Review Exemption.
Petitionable Expedited Review by the IRB
“Expedited review procedures for certain kinds of research involving no more than minimal risk, and for minor changes in approved research.”
“(a) The Secretary, HHS [Health & Human Services], has established, and published as a Notice in the FEDERAL REGISTER, a list of categories of research that may be reviewed by the IRB through an expedited review procedure. The list will be amended, as appropriate after consultation with other departments and agencies, through periodic republication by the Secretary, HHS, in the FEDERAL REGISTER. A copy of the list is available from the Office for Human Research Protections, HHS, or any successor office.”
“(b) An IRB may use the expedited review procedure to review either or both of the following:
(1) Some or all of the research appearing on the list and found by the reviewer(s) to involve no more than minimal risk,
(2) Minor changes in previously approved research during the period (of one year or less) for which approval is authorized. Under an expedited review procedure, the review may be carried out by the IRB chairperson or by one or more experienced reviewers designated by the chairperson from among members of the IRB. In reviewing the research, the reviewers may exercise all of the authorities of the IRB except that the reviewers may not disapprove the research. A research activity may be disapproved only after review in accordance with the non-expedited procedure set forth in § 46.108(b).”
“(c) Each IRB which uses an expedited review procedure shall adopt a method for keeping all members advised of research proposals which have been approved under the procedure.”
“(d) The department or agency head may restrict, suspend, terminate, or choose not to authorize an institution’s or IRB’s use of the expedited review procedure.”
[56 FR 28012, 28022, June 18, 1991, as amended at 70 FR 36328, June 23, 2005]
Petitionable Categories for Expedited Review by the IRB
If your research study proposal falls into one of the categories below, you will need to submit your full proposal with all required documents to the IRB along with the IRB Expedited Review Petition form. Please be sure to note in the body of your email that you are submitting the IRB Exemption and Expedited Review Petition form when submitting your documents to the IRB Liaison.
Below are categories of research from the Office for Human Research Protections that qualify for Expedited review. Note, however, that even for these types of research the IRB may determine that a Full review is necessary.
Clinical studies of drugs and medical devices only when condition (a) or (b) is met.
- Research on drugs for which an investigational new drug application (21 CFR Part 312) is not required. (Note: Research on marketed drugs that significantly increases the risks or decreases the acceptability of the risks associated with the use of the product is not eligible for expedited review.)
- Research on medical devices for which (i) an investigational device exemption application (21 CFR Part 812) is not required; or (ii) the medical device is cleared/approved for marketing and the medical device is being used in accordance with its cleared/approved labeling.
- Collection of blood samples by finger stick, heel stick, ear stick, or venipuncture as follows:from healthy, non-pregnant adults who weigh at least 110 pounds. For these subjects, the amounts drawn may not exceed 550 mL in an eight-week period and collection may not occur more frequently than two times per week; or
from other adults and children¹, considering the age, weight, and health of the subjects, the collection procedure, the amount of blood to be collected, and the frequency with which it will be collected. For these subjects, the amount drawn may not exceed the lesser of 50 mL or 3 mL per kg in an 8 week period and collection may not occur more frequently than two times per week.
Prospective collection of biological specimens for research purposes by non-invasive means.
Examples: (a) hair and nail clippings in a non-disfiguring manner; (b) deciduous teeth at time of exfoliation or if routine patient care indicates a need for extraction; (c) permanent teeth if routine patient care indicates a need for extraction; (d) excreta and external secretions (including sweat); (e) uncannulated saliva collected either in an unstimulated fashion or stimulated by chewing gumbase or wax or by applying a dilute citric solution to the tongue; (f) placenta removed at delivery; (g) amniotic fluid obtained at the time of rupture of the membrane prior to or during labor; (h) supra- and subgingival dental plaque and calculus, provided the collection procedure is not more invasive than routine prophylactic scaling of the teeth and the process is accomplished in accordance with accepted prophylactic techniques; (i) mucosal and skin cells collected by buccal scraping or swab, skin swab, or mouth washings; (j) sputum collected after saline mist nebulization.
Collection of data through noninvasive procedures (not involving general anesthesia or sedation) routinely employed in clinical practice, excluding procedures involving x-rays or microwaves. Where medical devices are employed, they must be cleared/approved for marketing. (Studies intended to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the medical device are not generally eligible for expedited review, including studies of cleared medical devices for new indications.)
Examples: (a) physical sensors that are applied either to the surface of the body or at a distance and do not involve input of significant amounts of energy into the subject or an invasion of the subject’s privacy; (b) weighing or testing sensory acuity; (c) magnetic resonance imaging; (d) electrocardiography, electroencephalography, thermography, detection of naturally occurring radioactivity, electroretinography, ultrasound, diagnostic infrared imaging, doppler blood flow, and echocardiography; (e) moderate exercise, muscular strength testing, body composition assessment, and flexibility testing where appropriate given the age, weight, and health of the individual.
Research involving materials (data, documents, records, or specimens) that have been collected, or will be collected solely for non-research purposes (such as medical treatment or diagnosis). (Note: Some research in this category may be exempt from the Health & Human Services regulations for the protection of human subjects. 45 CFR 46.101(b)(4). This listing refers only to research that is not exempt.)
Collection of data from voice, video, digital, or image recordings made for research purposes.
Research on individual or group characteristics or behavior (including, but not limited to, research on perception, cognition, motivation, identity, language, communication, cultural beliefs or practices, and social behavior) or research employing survey, interview, oral history, focus group, program evaluation, human factors evaluation, or quality assurance methodologies. (NOTE: Some research in this category may be exempt from the Health & Human Services regulations for the protection of human subjects. 45 CFR 46.101(b)(2) and (b)(3). This listing refers only to research that is not exempt.)
Continuing review of research previously approved by the convened IRB as follows:where (i) the research is permanently closed to the enrollment of new subjects; (ii) all subjects have completed all research-related interventions; and (iii) the research remains active only for long-term follow-up of subjects; or
where no subjects have been enrolled and no additional risks have been identified; or
where the remaining research activities are limited to data analysis.
Continuing review of research, not conducted under an investigational new drug application or investigational device exemption where categories two through eight do not apply but the IRB has determined and documented at a convened meeting that the research involves no greater than minimal risk and no additional risks have been identified.
1 Children are defined in the Health & Human Services regulations as “persons who have not attained the legal age for consent to treatments or procedures involved in the research, under the applicable law of the jurisdiction in which the research will be conducted.” 45 CFR 46.402(a).