IACUC Protocol Help

IACUC Protocol Help


Veterinary pre-review of protocols increases the speed and efficiency of the IACUC protocol approval process by ensuring that Committee and investigator time is not taken up questioning the minute (but vital) details of protocols. Although this process will require more preparation in advance of IACUC review, it should greatly decrease approval delays stemming from extensive post-meeting communication between the IACUC and investigators.


  1. In order to have sufficient time for review and communication, the veterinary pre-review deadline is one week prior to the IACUC protocol submission deadline. Late protocols may not be reviewed.
  2. Veterinary staff are available, by appointment, to meet to discuss the planning of surgical and anesthetic protocols.
  3. If you wish to have a veterinarian review your protocol, before submission to the IACUC, contact the LASC office at 617-638-4086.

Help with your “Alternatives” search

  • Perform a search for each painful or potentially painful procedure. This DOES include surgery (even if relieved by anesthetics), but does NOT include standard acceptable methods of euthanasia, or administration of non-irritating drugs by brief restraint and injection.
  • Use the word alternative(s) as a search term.
  • Use both the procedure and the objective of the procedure as search terms. For example, if you are doing open-chest surgery to place an aortic band to cause aortic stricture, then appropriate search terms would include:
    • Thoracotomy alternative(s)
    • Aortic banding alternative(s)
  • The first search would bring up a paper describing an abdominal approach to the heart (abdominal surgery is less painful than thoracic); the second might bring up a paper describing a method to induce aortic stricture with drugs or catheterization instead of surgery.
  • Search for ways to do terminal rather than survival surgeries, or to harvest tissues from euthanized animals rather than animals under anesthesia.
  • Search for earlier endpoints. Rather than using death as an endpoint, is there some objective clinical sign (e.g. 20% weight loss, body temperature less than 35C) that can be used as an indicator of the success or failure of a therapeutic modality?

There are numerous web sites devoted to alternatives searches, including some with automated searches for common procedures. Access them via IACUC.org, under Alternatives.