The animal care and use program within the Center is overseen by the Research Animal Resource Center (RARC) under the direction of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). The IACUC is composed of Center scientists experienced in animal research, veterinarians with experience in laboratory animal medicine and science, nonscientists or lay members representing community interests, and at least one individual with no affiliation to the institution. Federal regulations and policies governed by the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and the Health Research Extension Act of 1985 require all animal use to be approved by the IACUC before commencing, including the harvest of tissues and/or organs, use for teaching or training, as well as all in vivo experimentation.
Laboratories using animals must submit an application describing the planned use of animals to the IACUC using Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s e-Protocol system. An e-Protocol tutorial as well as various institutional guidelines and policies are available on the IACUC and RARC websites. National Institutes of Health guidelines require that all grant applications using animals be IACUC approved prior to funding. Applications without IACUC approval may not be funded. To comply with this requirement, investigators should submit their protocols to the IACUC for review at least two months in advance of the expected funding date if the application has a reasonable probability of being funded.
All staff using animals must have the skills and training necessary to conduct the procedures described in the approved IACUC protocol. All staff using animals at the Center are required to attend a mandatory introductory seminar “Orientation to the Research Animal Resource Center” administered by RARC’s; Education and Quality Assurance (EQA) section. The seminar provides information on all aspects of the use of animals in research and the rules and regulations governing their use. Additional didactic as well as hands-on training is available through EQA. Seminars on a variety of topics relating to animal care and use are also administered monthly.
Clinical care is provided to the Center’s research animals by RARC’s Veterinary Services (VS) section. VS consists of a team of veterinary technicians and specially trained veterinarians. VS provides professional and technical services, clinical care, and preventive medicine and is available for assistance and advice.