Systems of medical ethics intended to protect patients and ensure trust between physician and patient are as old as the practice of medicine. Ethical guidelines for biomedical research are indeed similar to those of clinical care, but they are different in important ways - particularly in clinical and translational research. While physicians are required to put their patient's interests above all other considerations, researchers must balance the needs of the patient with the interests of science and knowledge.
An expert in healthcare law, policy and ethics summarizes the historical roots of contemporary ethical guidelines in clinical and translational research, including ethical breaches during the 20th century in Europe and the US that led to the establishment of our current system of Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) and other principals that seek to protect research participants while advancing scientific goals. The lecturer reviews the ethical principals that researchers are required to consider as they design and conduct studies, including issues of informed consent and patient confidentiality. The lecturer also discusses problems and ethical gray areas that remain unresolved under current practices and regulations, such as IRB bias toward their home institutions and conflicts in multicenter studies with differing IRB policies.