A case study of a single ethics committee for multicentre trials

Ian N Olver, Sharon J P Falleiro, Marion L Marson and James F Bishop
Med J Aust 2011; 195 (10): . || doi: 10.5694/mja11.10484
Published online: 21 November 2011

To the Editor: In 2006, the Cancer Institute NSW established a single ethics committee, in order to improve the efficiency of ethics reviews for multicentre cancer clinical trials. This predates the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Harmonisation of Multi-centre Ethical Review (HoMER) but exemplifies what HoMER aims to encourage nationally. Previously, such trials were submitted to each institution’s ethics committee, resulting in replication of effort and cost and prolonged review times, potentially making sites uncompetitive in attracting clinical trials.1 Under the Cancer Institute’s model, with the agreement of individual institutions, multicentre projects are submitted directly to a single ethics committee. Governance issues, such as the capability of an institution to provide appropriate support, and insurance issues have remained local health unit responsibilities.2

  • 1 Cancer Council Australia, Sydney, NSW.
  • 2 Cancer Institute NSW, Sydney, NSW.


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

  • 1. Hicks SC, James RE, Wong N, et al. A case study evaluation of ethics review systems for multicentre clinical trials. Med J Aust 2009; 191: 280-282. <MJA full text>
  • 2. Fraser HE, Martlew AE, Frew DJ. Model for a single ethical and scientific review of multicentre research in New South Wales. Med J Aust 2007; 187: 7-8. <MJA full text>
  • 3. Fitzgerald MH, Phillips PA. Centralized and non-centralized ethics review: a five nation study. Account Res 2006; 13: 47-74.
  • 4. Chaddah MR. The Ontario Cancer Research Ethics Board: a central REB that works. Curr Oncol 2008; 15: 49-52.
  • 5. Wagner TH, Murray C, Goldberg J, et al. Costs and benefits of the national cancer institute central institutional review board. J Clin Oncol 2010; 28: 662-666.


remove_circle_outline Delete Author
add_circle_outline Add Author

Do you have any competing interests to declare? *

I/we agree to assign copyright to the Medical Journal of Australia and agree to the Conditions of publication *
I/we agree to the Terms of use of the Medical Journal of Australia *
Email me when people comment on this article

Online responses are no longer available. Please refer to our instructions for authors page for more information.