The MSM Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is charged with ensuring that the policies set forth in the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals are followed by the faculty and staff of the Morehouse School of Medicine and the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.
The MSM IACUC will follow the guidelines set forth in this document whether the animal care and use protocols are being funded from federal or non-federal sources.
The MSM IACUC is set up in such a way as to meet all federal guidelines for committee composition and at the same time provide adequate representation for individuals at each of the MSM member institutions.
Functions of the MSM IACUC
- The major function of the MSM IACUC is to ensure that all animals housed in the MSM institutions are used in accordance with federal and state law, in a humane manner, using the minimum number of animals necessary to meet the objectives of the experiment or teaching exercise, and using the most appropriate species.
- In order to meet this charge, the MSM IACUC may require modifications in, or disapprove/approve an animal protocol or activity. Should the faculty or staff member disregard the decisions of the IACUC, the committee is empowered to suspend an activity after due process (Policy Section IV C6 and 7) and is required to inform the Office of Protection from Research Risks (OPRR) of its action (Policy Section IV F3).
- Current federal guidelines require that the MSM IACUC approve all animal care and use protocols PRIOR TO the initiation of such protocols. This requirement is met by the Request for the Use of Animal Subjects in Research, Teaching and Training (IACUC Application). In addition, OLAW requires that all such protocols must be re-reviewed every three years. The revised Animal Welfare Act requires that all animal use protocols are re-reviewed annually. The protocol summary sheets appended to the Request for Animal Use form are used to meet that requirement.
Deadlines for Submission of IACUC Applications
In general, the MSM IACUC meets monthly on the 3rd Thursday. PHS policy requires that applications for use of animals be reviewed by this committee and therefore investigators need to be aware of the deadlines for submitting their applications. This allows adequate time for the required veterinary consult and for any revisions to be made before it is submitted to IACUC members for review. Because of the requirement for IACUC committee review, applications will not be acted on as needed, but must be scheduled for the next IACUC meeting. Often IACUC requires revisions to the application before it is approved. Therefore, to ensure that approval is received to allow investigator’s to start new projects, to continue under a renewed application approval, or to get approval for modifications to the original application the following schedule needs to be followed:
- Submission of an electronic application (Word Document) for Veterinary Consult:
Three weeks prior to IACUC meeting date, an investigator that wishes to have an application reviewed, should send the application to the veterinarian, Dr. Katherine Spears-Paul (firstname.lastname@example.org). In general, this will be the last Thursday of the previous month.
- Submission of electronic application (Word Document) for IACUC Review:
Two weeks prior to IACUC meeting date, revised applications (based on the veterinary consult) should be submitted to CLAR (email@example.com) and IACUC Chair (firstname.lastname@example.org). In general, this will be the first Thursday of the month.
Although both the veterinarian and IACUC chair will work with investigators if these deadlines cannot be made, a request by investigators to do this should be the exception rather than the expectation of investigators.
The importance of adhering to these deadlines is to maintain compliance with PHS policy, AAALAC accreditation and federal regulations governing the use of experimental animals.
Committee Sheet [pdf]
- Takes approximately one month
- Send application electronically
- Veterinarian will issue a Vet Consult (VC)
- You should revise your application based upon the suggestions of the vet
- A reviewer will be assigned to review the most recent revised version
- Investigator will be informed in writing of committee decision, i.e., Approved, Tabled or Disapproved
- Investigator informs IACUC chairperson or CLAR Office of the name and address of any person who should be informed of the committee's decision
- Investigator receives copy of any assurance letter sent by the chairperson of the IACUC.
Things to Keep in Mind When You Develop an Animal Use Protocol for Review by the IACUC
- The IACUC has to be able to review the scientific merits of your proposal and be able to ensure that your animal use protocols are justified in light of the science.
- You must provide evidence of a recent literature search to ensure that your protocols are not repetitive or redundant. Please indicate database and keyword(s) searched and the results.
- You should justify a) using vertebrate animals rather than model systems b) the number of animals you plan to use and c) the species of animals you plan to use.
- The animal should be humanely treated at all times. If you think that you would need an anesthetic or analgesic for this procedure, then so would an animal. USDA Policy #12
- Follow the AVMA Euthanasia Guide (attached) if you have to euthanize an animal or have the CLAR staff do it. Exceptions can be made to the AVMA approved methods, but only if a valid scientific reason is given (e.g., guillotine a rat without prior anesthetic or tranquilizing agent because these agents are known to affect the enzymes or hormones under study).
- If you are unfamiliar with an animal species, procedure, or pharmacological agent, contact the CLAR Office. CLAR houses a large amount of information on animal handling, surgical and non-surgical procedures, anesthetics and other agents used in various lab animal species. If the CLAR office cannot provide you with the necessary information, the consulting veterinarian will be able to do so or will find an individual who can.
- The administration of your institution must be aware of, and have approved, any animal use protocol submitted to the IACUC for approval.
- Remember, you are responsible for any staff or students participating in your animal use protocol. Make sure individuals are adequately trained.
- Animals cannot be housed outside CLAR for more than 24 hours without prior written approval.
- If you plan to use an unusual species or some specialized CLAR facility (e.g., barrier facility) you should first contact the director of Operations of CLAR to ensure that the facility can meet your needs.
- Approved protocols will be assigned a number which must accompany all animal orders.
- Animals must be purchased by CLAR from an approved list of suppliers to avoid introducing infections into the facility. Where possible, use specific pathogen-free animals (SPF). Before developing a budget, check with the CLAR Office for animal purchase prices from approved suppliers.
- Prior to working with animals, all faculty, staff and students must complete an Animal Care and Use workshop (CLAR Orientation) and the LATA online training program tailored to the species to be used. It will also be necessary for investigators to update their skills and knowledge base from time to time as part of a continuing education program that will be offered by CLAR.