The Role of IRB in Biomedical Research

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RB) stands out as a significant and objective third party body that is controlled by Federal Regulations mandated by providing protection as well as management of risks that pertains to human participants contributing to research. The regulations contained in the body not only apply to federally funded research but also those conducted under IRB banner. Thus, IRB works to achieve various specific goals to avoid violations of the rights of human participants.

In this context, IRB works by promoting the rights of human participants to enhance their well-being and safety, alleviating the worries of the public in relation to responsible conduct during research. Similarly, the board works to ensure observance of ethical principles and values that pertains to the research as well as ensuring that only scientifically valid and ethical research is implemented (Whitney 2015). The formation of IRB was triggered due to irresponsible researches, which violated ethical principles and human values of participants. A good empirical example is the Tuskegee syphilis experiment conducted on the Negro male, which violated the rights of the participants intentionally (Gray 2013). Hence, the research was ethically flawed since it was selective to only African American people. Similarly, the participants were manipulated to continue the research devoid of their concerning their choices and roles

In such cases, the IRB is obligated with monitoring, approving, and rejecting research that does not adhere to the stipulated regulations in behavioral and biomedical research that involves human subjects. In the past, a significant number of scientific research targeted human subjects; thus, inflicting psychological and physical harm on them (Whitney 2015). For instance, the biomedical research between 1945 and 1947 where plutonium was injected in 11 patients inflicted harm on the patients. The aim was to determine the amount of damage uranium causes on the normal person. In this case, IRB reviews research protocols, assess ethical principles, and methods that promote voluntary participation of human subjects.


Gray, F. D. (2013). The Tuskegee Syphilis Study: An Insiders' Account of the Shocking Medical Experiment Conducted by Government Doctors Against African American Men. NewSouth Books.

Whitney, S. N. (2015). Balanced ethics review: A guide for institutional review board members. Springer.

October 13, 2023

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