IARC, as a sponsor of research as well as a practitioner, has a duty to show leadership in ensuring that its studies are beyond ethical reproach. Research at IARC relates to public health with epidemiology as its core discipline. There is well documented agreement that epidemiological studies involving patients or participants from healthy populations should receive the same rigour of ethical review as any clinical study.
The major role of IARC in ethical appraisal is thus as the final common path for assurance to the international community that whatever constitutes ethical approval, transparently demonstrates the fundamental principles of doing no harm, respect, beneficence and justice. IARC is the guarantor of protection for study participants by its insistence on internationally consistent and complete ethical review of research.
The IARC Ethics Committee (IEC) meets every two months to evaluate IARC project proposals and ensure that the ethics process is respected.
The IARC Ethics Advisory Group (EAG) is being assembled to provide on demand specialist ethics expertise in areas outside the competence of the IEC.