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Research Ethics Boards (REBs) are independent, multi-disciplinary committees that review the ethical acceptability of research involving humans. REBs that review biomedical research generally include doctors and other members of the scientific community, as well as non-scientific members with specific expertise, including ethicists, lawyers, privacy experts and community members. The REB’s role is to safeguard the rights and welfare of the individuals who volunteer to participate in research, by ensuring that the study sponsor and the researchers have adequately considered and applied the required ethical principles into the design and conduct of the research.

The Ontario Cancer Research Ethics Board (OCREB) has radically changed the research ethics environment for multi-centre cancer trials in Ontario. OCREB is a central, expert oncology REB serving the hospitals/cancer centres in Ontario that conduct oncology clinical trials. OCREB’s centralized model means that once a study has been approved by OCREB, participating study sites typically can receive OCREB approval within days. This model not only provides a robust ethical focus on oncology research, but also streamlines the review process, minimizes redundancies, promotes consistency, and saves the time and cost of having the study reviewed by an REB at every participating institution/study site. Since its first meeting in January 2004, OCREB has been working with researchers, institutions and sponsors to safeguard the rights and welfare of research participants in Ontario, while advancing ethically sound cancer research.

OCREB is accountable to the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research’s Board of Directors through the OCREB Governance Committee.

For more information about OCREB, see Overview of OCREB.

For a list of institutions authorized to use OCREB, see List of Institutions.