PURPOSE: Investigator-initiated research involving investigational drugs and devices is key to improving health. However, this requires the investigator to serve as a "sponsor-investigator," which can be complex and overwhelming. The Investigational New Drug/Investigational Device Exemption (IND/IDE) Taskforce of the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) consortium carried out a survey to examine how academic health centers (AHCs) assist sponsor-investigators with regulatory responsibilities. METHOD: The 24 CTSA centers existing in 2008 were surveyed regarding regulatory oversight and support for sponsor-investigators. Responses were analyzed by descriptive statistics. The evaluation of survey responses yielded three models of institutional support/oversight. RESULTS: Nineteen centers and one affiliate responded. Eleven (55%) reported having an IND/IDE support office, increased from five (25%) prior to their CTSA award. The volume of investigator-initiated IND/IDE research was highly variable (measured by numbers of investigators, IND/IDE applications, and studies). Oversight, if done, was provided by either the IND/IDE office or elsewhere in the institution. Most IND/IDE offices assisted with IND/IDE submissions and preparation for external audits. Half reported advanced training for sponsor-investigators. Almost all reported a goal to increase IND/IDE research. Important issues include the need for robust training of investigator/staff, appropriate determination of IND-exempt research, and sufficient support for preparing IND/IDE applications. CONCLUSIONS: Investigator-initiated research involving IND/IDEs is essential, but complex. AHCs should examine how they support sponsor-investigators in meeting the complex requirements. A model of either expert consultation/support or full service will minimize risks to participants and institutions, and regulatory noncompliance.
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