Animal research

OHSU Statement on Animal Research

OHSU understands and takes full responsibility for providing compassionate, cutting-edge health and veterinary care that comes with the privilege of working with animals. We believe that knowledge gained through biomedical research in relevant animal models is essential for developing new ways to identify, prevent, treat or eradicate disease and improve human and animal health. Our views on this subject reflect those of other academic health centers, universities, physicians and scientists around the world.

Animal research has led to vaccines against poliomyelitis, smallpox, mumps and measles; a vaccine platform against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and West Nile virus; new treatments for infertility, heart disease and diabetes; breakthroughs in Parkinson’s disease, blindness, stroke and depression. Through stem cell research, we have gained new knowledge that should transform our understanding of human health and biotechnology.

OHSU permits animal studies only when other non-animal research methods, such as laboratory cell culture, simulation, gene chips, or computer modeling, are scientifically inadequate and/or when the designs experiments are too dangerous for human participants.

Before OHSU conducts research with animals, the research must be approved for its scientific merit and substantiated need for animals and species through peer review. Only after a study is deemed to have scientific value is it possible to seek OHSU approval. Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). This rigorous review process assesses factors such as study design details, steps taken in study design to minimize pain and distress, and documentation of appropriate training for all personnel. of the study. Scientists must also demonstrate that the proposed study does not unduly duplicate previously conducted research and must describe in detail the sources used to reach this conclusion.

Veterinarians specially trained in the care of research animals participate in the examination process. If the IACUC determines that animals are necessary to answer a research question, OHSU ensures that the study uses as few animals as possible and emphasizes procedures that minimize discomfort and harm. stress.

OHSU supports and adheres to the Health Research Extension Act and Public Health Services Policy, Animal Welfare Act and Animal Welfare Regulations, with regular examinations (at least once a year) and extensive monitoring by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Office for Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) of the National Institutes of Health.

OHSU posts all USDA inspection reports on its public website as they become available: West Campus; Marquam Hill Campus and South Waterfront.

To ensure that our programs take extra steps to achieve excellence in the care and use of animals, OHSU voluntarily participates in AAALAC International, a private, nonprofit organization that promotes the humane treatment of animals in science through voluntary accreditation and assessment programs. OHSU has a long history of successful AAALAC exams and accreditations, dating back to 1974.

OHSU proactively investigates and reports any serious adverse issues or incidents involving animals in our care to OHSU’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), who ensures appropriate action is taken. to prevent recurrence. The IACUC also facilitates the reporting of any serious adverse issues or incidents to OLAW. OLAW’s Compliance Division has highly trained veterinary staff who carefully review the mitigation response in each case to determine if it is complete and appropriate, ensuring that we have done everything possible to minimize the possibility of recurrence.

At OHSU, we employ hundreds of dedicated employees who are committed to providing humane, respectful treatment and the best possible veterinary care for every animal in our care. Animal care and housing is conducted by licensed veterinarians who are graduates of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine, a recognized specialty of distinction within the veterinary medical profession.

At OHSU, we offer a wide variety of opportunities for students and others to learn more about our scientific research and animal care programs. For example, scientists and animal care professionals speak with visitors from the Oregon National Primate Center (ONPRC) at OHSU, serve as mentors for teachers and students, tour area classrooms, and interact with the public at special events on our campus and in the wider community. .

Additionally, more than 4,000 people visit the ONPRC at OHSU each year, including elementary, middle and high school students; undergraduate and graduate student groups; civic groups and other organizations; and members of the general public. Tours are designed to meet the particular interests of each group. Depending on the size and interest of the group, tours may include an interactive presentation on the center’s scientific methods and current research projects, a tour of the outdoor corrals to observe breeding colonies of rhesus and Japanese macaques of the centre, scientists discussing their research and/or a visit to certain laboratories.

OHSU looks forward to a time when non-animal research methods will be able to faithfully model the complexity of a living system; however, we are many years away from achieving this goal. The global scientific community does not fully understand how a single cell works, and non-animal research methods are currently unable to interpret it in detail.

OHSU continuously monitors and evaluates new methods and technologies as alternatives to animal studies in our programs, and is committed to adopting these techniques as soon as their effectiveness is demonstrated.

Examples of OHSU/Oregon National Primate Research Center contributions to health and science include:

  • A compound that successfully promotes the rebuilding of the protective sheath around nerve cells that is damaged in conditions such as multiple sclerosis
  • Identification of a gene that could provide a new target for the development of drugs to prevent and treat alcoholism
  • Novel Methods of Developing Vaccines for HIV, Tuberculosis, West Nile Virus, and Other Infectious Diseases
  • Treatment of an infection that can lead to chronic lung disease and brain damage in premature infants
  • Understanding of the effects of aging on neurological, immunological and reproductive functions (and how these are related)
  • A method of protecting fertility in people who are receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy as treatment for an illness
  • A safer method of birth control
  • Better understanding of brain damage and its repair
  • Improved infant formula to support healthy eye development in newborns
  • Gene therapy for people with mitochondrial defects
  • Method for accessing embryonic stem cells without destroying the fertilized egg
  • Infertility treatments
  • Clinical trials using vitamin C to protect against lung damage in infants whose mothers smoke during pregnancy
  • Identify the effects of a high-fat diet during pregnancy on the development of obesity and/or type II diabetes in the next generation