Management of the project
The project is overseen by a number of committees/panels, which were established in consultation with the financial sponsors of the project and the Ministers of Health in Ukraine and Russia. The current management structure reflects the ways in which the project has evolved and will move forward. From time to time subprojects may require expert input, which may be provided by a dedicated Group operating for a fixed time period. A schema of the project management is shown in the figure. The responsibility for the project as a whole is taken by the Steering Committee (SC) and all Panels report to the SC, either directly or through the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). The composition and responsibilities of the SC, the Scientific Advisory Board, the Pathology Panel and the External Review Panel (ERP) are described below.
Steering Committee (SC)
The Steering Committee is composed of one representative from each of the funding bodies (currently the National Cancer Institute of the United States of America, and the Sasakawa Memorial Health Foundation of Japan), and a senior representative from the IEM, Ukraine and MRRC, Russia, representing the relevant Ministry. If a representative is unable to attend a meeting, the funding organization or Ministry concerned may appoint a deputy to take his or her place.
The role of the Steering Committee is to:
- Provide strategic direction regarding the development of the project, in particular the collection and use of the samples and information collated by the CTB.
- Monitor the progress and financial management of the CTB
- Provide arbitration, when necessary, on matters referred to it by the CTB subsidiary panels.
The SC will normally meet annually and will receive a project report, the 5-year budget plan and Minutes of the other CTB committees and Working groups.
Scientific Advisory Board (SAB)
The SAB currently comprises representatives from the following disciplines – clinical thyroidology, bioinformatics, bioethics, radiation dosimetry, tissue banking, end use researcher, the Chair of the Pathology Panel, and a representative from Ukraine and Russia, if they are not represented in one of the other listed disciplines. Scientists with other expertise may be co-opted onto the SAB as required.
The SAB operates as a ‘virtual’ committee corresponding by e-mail and teleconference, as required, rather than meeting face-to-face.
The role of the SAB is to:
1. Advise on scientific development of the CTB
2. Advise the CTB on current worldwide perspective and activity relevant to the project
3. Comment on quality control and ethical arrangements for the project.
4. Assist/advise the Steering Committee on those applications for which the ERP has been unable to agree a consensus decision (see below).
This panel comprises members nominated by each of the Eastern European governments and the sponsoring organisations. The Pathology Panel is responsible for the review of histological material and assignment of a consensus diagnosis for each specimen housed in the CTB. The Pathology Panel also reviews cases of thyroid cancer and benign disease from patients enrolled in NCI-sponsored epidemiological studies. New cases consented for the CTB in Ukraine and Russia are initially reviewed remotely by the Pathology Panel from high quality digital images. Those cases for which a consensus diagnosis cannot be reached by remote review, or which a member wishes to discuss, are flagged for review at the next meeting of the Panel. Meetings are scheduled every 12-18 months. A case will only be included in the CTB once a consensus diagnosis has been agreed.
External Review Panel
The External Review Panel is responsible for the review of all applications for access to the resources of the CTB.
From time to time other subcommittees are convened to oversee specialist areas of the project.
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
SOPs are used for all stages of the collection and processing of samples for the CTB. The SOPs are regularly reviewed and approved by the Steering Committee and are accessible via the website to registered users.