Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) Fact Sheet
What is IACUC?
IACUC refers to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, a group that oversees CDC's animal care program, facilities, and procedures as they relate to the use of animals in research at CDC.
Who or what requires CDC to establish an IACUC?
IACUCs are mandated by the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, Office of Extramural Research, National Institutes of Health, DHHS). For much more on the PHS policy, go to http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/olaw/faqs.htm
Is there one Committee serving the entire agency?
No. CDC maintains an IACUC at each of the three sites where animal research is performed.
What is its overall function?
IACUC reviews, approves, monitors, and oversees the use of animals for research, teaching, training, or exhibition within CDC. The Committee's specific charge is described in the "Charter for the Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)."
What are its specific responsibilities?
The responsibilities of IACUC include, but are not limited to:
- Implementing local IACUC policies within the guidelines established by CDC
- Conducting reviews of proposed research protocols (and any subsequent modifications) submitted for approval
- Inspecting physical facilities used for animal care/housing and reviewing the overall program at least twice annually
- Advising on upkeep/maintenance of these facilities and recommending any required renovations or upgrades to equipment, etc.
- Reviewing training programs to ensure adequate training for all personnel who deal with laboratory animals (principal investigators, research technicians, etc.) and for IACUC's own members
- Assuring institutional adherence to standard guidelines for animal care and use
What authority, if any, does IACUC possess to take real action?
IACUC has clear authority to implement needed change to any proposed or current research project. Following Branch and Division-level approval, IACUC receives research proposals from the agency's attending veterinarians for review of their compliance with mandated standards for the use of animals. Upon completion of its review, the Committee may either approve the proposal or make recommendations for revisions if it finds something lacking. The revised proposal will then come back to IACUC for either another full Committee review or possibly a "designated review" by a portion of its members. IACUC has the authority to suspend a protocol if it determines that an investigator is involved in anything not specifically approved in the original research proposal.
Must IACUC itself raise concerns or can others bring concerns to its attention?
IACUC policy allows for any individual with concerns about apparent inappropriate treatment of laboratory animals at CDC facilities to report suspected problems to any member of the Committee, the Animal Resources Branch Chief, the Institutional Official, or the Animal Care and Use Program Office Manager. IACUC is then required to review and, if warranted, investigate the complaint. Agency employees reporting suspected problems are protected against discrimination or other reprisals by USDA Animal Welfare Regulations.
What is the make-up of the Committee and who chooses its members?
The Committee, appointed by CDC's Institutional Official, is composed of at least five voting members, who are qualified by both experience and expertise. At a minimum, each IACUC includes:
- One veterinarian with training or experience in laboratory animal science and medicine, who has responsibility for activities involving animals at CDC
- One practicing scientist experienced in research involving animals
- One member whose primary concern is in a nonscientific area
- One individual who is not affiliated with CDC and is not an immediate family member of anyone affiliated with CDC
- One staff member from the Office of Health and Safety or the authorized safety official at that CDC location
How long do members serve on the Committee?
IACUC members are appointed for four-year, renewable terms. The Chair is appointed for a three-year term.