Skip to Main Content

MSK IACUC Resource Guide: Overview

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is required by federal regulations for most institutions that use animals in research, teaching, and testing. The IACUC oversees the review and approval of animal use activities, and inspection of animal

Welcome Message

The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is required by federal regulations for institutions that use animals in research, teaching, and testing. The IACUC oversees the review and approval of animal use activities and inspection of spaces where live animal work occurs.

This LibGuide provides access to an array of information and resources that support researchers in conducting and adhering to literature search requirements for their IACUC protocol. If you have a resource suggestion to add to this guide, please do not hesitate to contact Marina Chilov, Research Informationist or Jeanine McSweeney, Associate Librarian, Scholarly Communications.

Why Conduct a Literature Review?

Federal regulations prohibit unnecessary duplication of studies involving animals. By conducting a literature search, researchers may discover that other laboratories or colleagues have already worked on similar research, making running a duplicate experiment unnecessary. They may also discover alternatives to the use of animals, alternative (and possibly more humane) methods of animal care, treatment, or experimental design that requires fewer animals.

MSK Researchers can connect with their library to ensure that a comprehensive search is completed, saving them time and money. MSK Researchers can submit their question online or view the Ask Us page to see all available communication options. If submitting an online literature search, please note the  "How can we help?" field and select "Submit a literature or PICO(T) search request."

It's the Law!

The Animal Welfare Act requires the principal investigator (PI) to examine alternatives to potentially painful procedures. The USDA's Animal Care Resource Guide provides more in depth guidance as to how best to meet this requirement.

Policy Number 12 (Consideration of Alternatives to Painful/Distressful Procedures) this guide specifically outlines the requirements for conducting and reporting the results of a comprehensive literature search.  The researcher should include the following information in the report:

  1. The name(s) of the databases searched (due to the variation in subject coverage and sources used, one database is seldom adequate);
  2. The date the search was performed;
  3. The time period covered by the search and;
  4. The search strategy (including scientifically relevant terminology) used.

Consider 3Rs Alternatives

Part of developing your search strategy is thinking about the three Rs and asking targeted questions to address the study protocol.

  • Replace -- Is there any way you can use non-animal models (lower species) or invertebrate models to answer your research question(s)? If not, why not? 
  • Reduce -- Is there any way you can reduce the number of animals that you use, without jeopardizing the power of your research results? 
  • Refine -- Can less invasive procedures or those which cause less pain or distress be used?  If not, why?