The Data Safety Monitoring Board - Module A

Publisher : Kalman Dubov

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A key function during clinical trials is the Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB). The board is composed of several experts who review the investigational trial and receive unblinded data from the clinical investigator as well as the study sponsor. The unblinded data can be reviewed to determine if an adverse event is relevant to the study. The DSMB has the authority, if necessary, to stop the study at an appropriate juncture. There are two modules that present the concept of the DSMB, with specific detail related to investigational studies where the establishment of the DSMB is warranted. The key factor of reviewing an adverse event at an investigational site allows the DSMB to assess the risks in the study. The DSMB is established by charter detailing the scope of the board's authority, the composition of its members, how often the board will meet, and the types of meetings the board will conduct. In addition, the board must be grounded in the design types of studies so they are appreciative of the way the investigational trial will be conducted. Module B continues with different phases of clinical trials, with a key discussion of the study types where a DSMB is mandated. the board must also be aware of the FDA's recall system since it may affect the ongoing investigational trial. The review continues with the types of meetings undertaken by the DSMB, to include information obtained from the Department of Defense Research Monitor who may be a DSMB voting member. The module then reviews the specific actions the DSMB may take during the study, with practical recommendations the board should consider during its meetings. A critical aspect of the board's responsibility is its communication with the institutional review board (IRB (whether a specific IRB or a multiplicity of different IRBs. While the IRB does not receive unblinded data, the DSMB only receives unblinded data, so that communication with the IRB, by necessity, is restricted to data that can be shared with the IRB. However, if the DSMB stops a study, the IRB must be notified immediately so that the study's approval can be withdrawn. The scope of the duties of the DSMB is to provide the members with key data so as to protect the study subjects and ensure the trial is conducted in an optimal manner.

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