GESCR Submission and Review Process

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Types of Submissions

Levels of Review

 

Types of Submissions

Initial Review

To initiate review of a protocol by the GESCR Committee (and the IRB if necessary), submit an application through iRIS, our electronic submission system. To submit in iRIS, please follow these instructions.

The applicant makes an initial determination whether GESCR and/or IRB review are required; the final determination is made by the GESCR staff or Chair. The level of GESCR review is determined by the GESCR staff, Chair and reviewers.  

On receipt of the application, the GESCR Coordinator:

  1. Screens the information provided.
  2. Requests any changes needed from the researchers.
  3. Forwards the application to the GESCR Committee Chair/designated reviewer or GESCR Committee.
  4. Forwards any additional requests for changes to the researchers.
  5. Processes approval once all changes are addressed and the Chair/Committee approves the study.

Additional Information: At any stage in the review process, the Chair or lead reviewer may require the applicant to submit additional information or documentation to the GESCR Committee in support of the Application.

Additional Review: If the Chair determines, at the Chair’s discretion, that a protocol requires an additional review, he or she may forward the Application to an ad hoc reviewer or to one or more additional Committee members for additional review on an expedited basis or to the full review.

If the Chair or designated reviewer determines that a protocol that is undergoing an expedited review (minimal concern or scientific) raises concerns about transferring human characteristics to non-human animals, he or she must forward the Application to the Committee for full review.

Additional Approval: Work may not begin on a protocol approved by the GESCR Committee until all other requirements have been met, including approval by the IRB, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) or the Biologic Safety Committee, as needed.

Continuing Review

GESCR approvals are issued for one year. You may not conduct any research activity after the expiration date. GESCR requires an application for continuing review prior to the expiration date in order to review and renew a protocol.

When do I submit my Continuing Review?

We advise that researchers submit their renewals 6 -12 weeks before the expiration date.  Studies involving human subjects (tissue sampling – clinical trials) will take longer to review than protocols without human subjects (protocols such as in-vitro only or simple animal testing projects) because they will need to be reviewed by both the GESCR and IRB Committees.

Modifications

Modifications may be submitted at any time using the Modification submission form in iRIS. Modifications are processed according to the level of review required for the changes that are being requested. Modifications may also be submitted with the annual Continuing Review.

When is a modification submission required?

If you make any changes in your approved protocol, GESCR must be notified. Some examples of changes include:

  • Any scientific changes
  • Change in sponsor or funding source
  • Change(s) in Key Study Personnel, any addition or removal of research staff
  • Any change in stem cell lines

Levels of Review

There are four levels of review for submissions to the GESCR Committee. The level of review is determined by the GESCR Coordinator, Chair and reviewers.

I. Administrative Review: Research protocols that involve administrative changes only, such as staff or location changes.

The Chair or Designated Reviewer and the GESCR Coordinator review and approve protocols that are eligible for Administrative review. A report of all Administrative approvals is presented to the GESCR Committee. 

Protocols eligible for Administrative Review

  1. Change of personnel named in the Application.*
  2. Change in office or laboratory site - within the UCSF campuses.
  3. Minor corrections or clarifications to the study documents

*Change of PI should be reviewed as an Expedited/Minimal Concern submission.

II. Expedited/Minimal Concern Review: Research protocols that involve purely in vitro research and use of pre-existing, GESCR approved stem cell lines are eligible for Expedited/Minimal Concern review. This review may also apply to protocols involving the injection of iPS cells into post-natal, non-human animals to verify teratoma formation only.

This is an accelerated review process. The Chair or Designated Reviewer and the GESCR Coordinator review and approve protocols that are eligible for Expedited/Minimal Concern review. A report of all Expedited/Minimal Concern approvals is presented to the GESCR Committee.

Protocols eligible for Expedited/Minimal Concern Review

A. Protocols involving purely in vitro research, excluding protocols for differentiation of human stem cells into gametes or totipotent cells, which use only:

1. Human adult stem cells or human cord blood stem cells: or,

2. Human pluripotent stem cell lines that have been “acceptably derived”. For purposes of this document, pluripotent stem cell lines have been “acceptably derived” when they have been:

a. Approved by the National Institutes of Health (NIH);

b. Deposited in the United Kingdom Stem Cell Bank;

c. Derived by, or approved use by, a licensee of the United Kingdom Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority;

d. Derived in accordance with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Guidelines for Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Research under an application approved by the National Stem Cell Oversight Committee; or

e. Derived in accordance with the Japanese Guidelines for Derivation and Utilization of Human Embryonic Stem Cells; or

f. Found to be “acceptably derived” by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, or;

3. Human stem cell lines which have previously been approved for use by the GESCR Committee unless there is new information that calls into question renewal or approval,or;

4. Non-pluripotent human stem cells derived from a stem cell line listed in Section II.A.1, 2 or 3 (above), or;

5. Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, excluding research directed at creating a totipotent human cell from an iPS cell, which satisfy at least one of the following requirements:

a. The GESCR Committee approved the consent form and process for obtaining the somatic cells used for induction.

b. The GESCR Committee receives written confirmation from a Stem Cell Oversight Committee, an Institutional (IRB); or, if the iPS cells were derived at an institution outside of the United States, a substantially equivalent oversight body, that the oversight body approved the process for obtaining the somatic cells used for induction.

c. The process for obtaining the somatic cells used for induction was not “research involving human subjects” within the meaning of Title 45, Part 46 of the US Code of Federal Regulations (45 CFR Part 46).

d. The process for obtaining the somatic cells used for induction was exempt from the requirements of 45 CFR Part 46, under 45 CFR Part 46.101(b).

B. Protocols for human iPS cell induction, where the process for obtaining the somatic cells used for induction satisfies the requirements of Section II.A.5 above.

C. Protocols involving the injection/transplantation of human cells into post-natal non-human animals, which use a stem cell line that is described in Section II.A above, excluding:

1. Protocols involving the introduction of neural progenitor cells into the brains of post-natal non-human animals, and;

2. Protocols involving the introduction of human pluripotent stem cells into post-natal non-human animals, except for teratoma formation to verify pluripotency, and;

3. Protocols in which there is a significant possibility that the implanted stem cells could give rise to functional neural or gametic cells and tissues. In considering the likelihood of such an outcome, particular attention should be paid to at least three factors              

a. The extent to which the implanted cells colonize and integrate into the animal tissue, and;

b. The degree of differentiation of the implanted cells, and;

c. The possible effects of the implanted cells on the function of the animal tissue.

D. Protocols involving the use of human oocytes or embryos that are inadequate for reproductive purposes, would otherwise be discarded and will not be used to create pluripotent stem cells.

E. Continuing Reviews (renewals) of approvals for protocols and requests for modifications to protocols which have been previously approved by the GESCR Committee, where no modifications to the protocol require Expedited/Scientific review or Full Review, regardless of the initial level of review.

III. Expedited/Scientific Review: Research protocols that involve injection of covered stem cell lines into non-human animals or introducing neural progenitor cells into the brain/neural tissue of non-human animals at any state of embryonic, fetal or post natal development requires an Expedited/Scientific review (minimum).The Expedited/Scientific Review process involves more scrutiny than an Expedited/Minimal Concern Review, but less than Full Review.

The Chair or Designated Reviewer and one other committee member with relevant scientific expertise review the protocol. Both reviewers will evaluate the protocol and determine if the protocol should be approved or should go to the full committee for review. Approved "Expedited/Scientific" protocols are presented to the full Committee at the next Committee meeting and a copy of the protocols will be made available to all Committee Members.

Protocols eligible for Expedited/Scientific Review

A. Protocols involving the injection of human stem cells into non-human blastocysts, embryos or fetuses, which use a stem cell line that is described in Section II.A, above, excluding:

1. Protocols involving the introduction of human pluripotent stem cells into non-human blastocysts, embryos or fetuses, and;

2. Protocols involving the introduction of neural progenitor cells into non-human blastocysts, embryos or fetuses, and;

3. Protocols in which there is a significant possibility that the implanted human stem cells could give rise to functional neural or gametic cells and tissues.  In considering the likelihood of such an outcome, particular attention should be paid to at least the three factors listed in Section II.C.3, above.

B. Protocols involving the injection of human stem cells into non-human post natal animals that:

1. Use a stem cell line that is described in Section II.A, above, and;

2. Do not qualify for Expedited/Minimal Concern review under Section II.C.3, above,

But excluding:

a. protocols involving the introduction of human pluripotent stem cells into post-natal non-human primates or,

b. protocols involving the introduction of neural progenitor cells into the brains of post-natal non-human animals

IV. Full Review: Full review by the GESCR Committee is required for any other protocols, outside of those described above, which require review by the GESCR Committee.

The GESCR Coordinator designates three Committee members as lead reviewers of the protocol; one with relevant scientific expertise, one with ethics expertise and one non-affiliated GESCR Committee member.  At a Committee meeting, the three lead reviewers present the protocol and their analysis to the Committee.  After deliberation, those Committee members present (who must include a quorum in order to take official action), vote on the outcome of the review. Quorum for a GESCR meeting is reached when at least one member with scientific expertise, one with ethics expertise, and one not otherwise affiliated with UCSF are present, either in person or by conference call allowing them to participate in meeting discussions. Decisions are made by a majority vote of members present.

*Due to the sensitive nature of the tissues and cells used in GESCR related research projects, there are no Exempt Reviews.