Your experimental designs are coming into focus. Sample sizes…power analyses…and treatment conditions, oh my! And, all throughout, perhaps laboratory animals are needed. But, are they? Can you actually replace them and still rigorously test the hypothesis? If not, maybe the protocol can be refined in such a way to reduce their overall numbers, while still ensuring their humane care and use?
Considering alternatives to animals in your application is the topic of our next NIH All About Grants podcast. Drs. Neera Gopee with the NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare and Christine Livingston with the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences join us for this conversation (MP3 / Transcript). We will go into the 3Rs (replace, refine, and reduce), helpful resources for relevant policies, what’s needed for the vertebrate animal section, role for IACUCs and peer review, as well as organoids, in silico models, and other alternatives…oh my again!
On a related note, keep an eye out for recommendations coming from the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director working group on Enhancing Rigor, Transparency, and Translatability in Animal Research this December. Part of their charge is validating alternative models to animal research as well as considering benefits and burdens of registering animal studies. Their recommendations will also encompass public feedback in response to a Request for Information (NOT-OD-20-130) released this summer (see this NIH Open Mike blog post for more).