Decision Making and the IACUC: Part 1- Protocol Information Discussed at Full-Committee Reviews

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Animal Medicine; Department of Pathology; Department of Psychiatry; Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center

Publication Date


Document Type



Analgesia; *Animal Care Committees; Animal Experimentation; Animal Welfare; Animals; Decision Making; Research Design


Animal Sciences | Bioethics and Medical Ethics | Comparative and Laboratory Animal Medicine


IACUC protocols can be reviewed by either the full committee or designated members. Both review methods use the principles of the 3 Rs (reduce, refine, replace) as the overarching paradigm, with federal regulations and policies providing more detailed guidance. The primary goal of this study was to determine the frequency of topics discussed by IACUC during full-committee reviews and whether the topics included those required for consideration by IACUC (for example, pain and distress, number of animals used, availability of alternatives, skill and experience of researchers). We recorded and transcribed 87 protocol discussions undergoing full-committee review at 10 academic institutions. Each transcript was coded to capture the key concepts of the discussion and analyzed for the frequency of the codes mentioned. Pain and distress was the code mentioned most often, followed by the specific procedures performed, the study design, and the completeness of the protocol form. Infrequently mentioned topics were alternatives to animal use or painful or distressful procedures, the importance of the research, and preliminary data. Not all of the topics required to be considered by the IACUC were openly discussed for all protocols, and many of the discussions were limited in their depth.


J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci. 2015 Jul;54(4):389-98.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science : JAALAS

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID