Postmortem Tissue Collection (IACUC)


Boston University (BU) is committed to observing Federal policies and regulations and the Association of Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) International standards for the humane care and use of animals. As part of BU’s committment to reducing the number of animals used in research, the IACUC encourages the use of tissue sharing from animals that were humanely euthanized in the course of IACUC approved research projects. The intent of this policy is to describe when IACUC review and approval is required for obtaining postmortem vertebrate animal tissues from animals euthanized at BU.

Covered Parties

This policy is applicable to all persons responsible for conducting research, teaching, training, breeding, and related activities, hereinafter referred to collectively as “activities”, involving vertebrate animals conducted at or under the auspices of Boston University.

University Policy

When vertebrate animals are euthanized for the purpose of obtaining tissue or are involved in a project-specific antemorten manipulations, an approved BU IACUC protocol is required.

IACUC approval is not required for postmortem tissue collection when the following criteria are met:

  • Tissue is collected postmortem from animals that have been humanely euthanized under an approved BU IACUC protocol; and
  • The collection of tissue does not alter the approved primary protocol procedures in any way; and
  • There are no antemortem manipulations or changes in the primary protocol in anticipation of the secondary postmortem use (changes in the primary protocol must be addressed as an amendment to the original protocol or with a revised application).

Upon request, the IACUC will issue an approval letter to verify use of tissues collected postmortem from animals that have been humanely euthanized under an approved protocol, when a funding agency requires it as part of a grant application.

Investigators sharing and receiving tissues from animals infected with biohazardous agents or treated with radioisotopes must obtain appropriate approvals from the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) or Radiation Safety Committee before any transfer occurs.

Responsible Parties

Principal Investigators are responsible for: preparing and submitting applications; making modifications in applications in order secure IACUC approval; ensuring adherence to approved protocols; ensuring humane care and use of animals: ensuring that all personnel have completed required training; and reporting any adverse events to the IACUC.

The Animal Welfare Program and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee are responsible for overseeing implementation of and ensuring compliance with this policy.

Defined Terms

Tissue: means any part of a vertebrate animal, including tissue, blood or other bodily fluids, organ and carcass, that contributes to the individual’s or species’ homeostasis when the animal is alive.

Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals

Animal Welfare Act and Animal Welfare Regulations

Review and Approval of Materials Submitted to the IACUC


Effective Date: 03/05/2024
Next Review Date: 03/04/2027

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