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Alternatives to Animal Testing & Compliance Guide



The Texas Medical Center Library has several resources that can be searched for relevant information. The following are just a sample of top databases that will be helpful for your research. Refer to the searchable keywords mentioned previously for more alternatives. 




Gene Ontology




Jove: Research protocols on various topics.  


Useful Websites


ALTBIB -  Resources and bibliography for alternatives to the use of live vertebrates in Biomedical Research and Testing

ALTWEB - From Johns Hopkins University, information on animal testing from around the world.

AWIC -  The  Animal Welfare Information Center provides resources on research, testing, teaching, and animal care.

CAAT - The Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing at Johns Hopkins University. Provides global resources & alternatives.

IACUC Central - IACUC Central is a resource for institutional animal care and use committee members and staff

ILAR - Institute for Laboratory Animal Research provides information on the ethical use of animal testing and alternatives.

Mouse Biology Program (MBP) - From UC Davis, provides resource on transgenic and targeted mutation research

NIEHS - National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences provides information for researches and scientists

Searches, Samples, and More!

Sample Search Strategy

The USDA and AWIC provide a sample search for Osteomyelitis here: Osteomyelitis Sample Search

Sample Search Hedges for Alternatives to Animals:

Hedges can be added (copied and pasted) into databases like PubMed as a concept to search in addition, to your main topic. These hedges are not cohesive with all studies. Choose your alternative search terms that are relevant to your main topic.

(((((“Models, Theoretical”[Mesh] NOT “Disease Models, Animal”[Mesh]))) OR (“Computer Simulation”[Mesh] OR “Cadaver”[Mesh] OR “Culture Techniques”[Mesh] OR “Cells, Cultured”[Mesh] OR "In Vitro Techniques"[Mesh]))) NOT (("Animals"[Mesh] OR "Humans"[Mesh])) 

("Animal Testing Alternatives"[Mesh] OR ("In Vitro Techniques"[Mesh] OR "Computer Simulation"[Mesh])) OR ("Tissue Culture Techniques"[Mesh] AND "Diffusion Chambers, Culture"[Mesh])

((((("Pain"[Mesh]) OR "Animal Welfare"[Mesh]) OR "Stress, Physiological"[Mesh]) OR "Animal Use Alternatives"[Mesh])) AND (((((pain*[Title/Abstract]) OR stress*[Title/Abstract]) OR distress*[Title/Abstract]) OR welfare[Title/Abstract]) OR condition*[Title/Abstract])

Research Protocol Sample:

Date of Search: July 5, 2018

Databases Searched: Medline, Agricola, Embase (Needs to be more than just one database!) 

Time Period Covered by the Search: 2000-2018 (Needs to be greater than 5 years!) 

Scientific Keywords/Terminology Searched: interspecies transmitted virus, RNA, Zika, ZIKV, zoonotic, mosquitoes, NS 1 Protein, Mice, analgesia, animal distress AND reduction

Model to be Used:  Animal (Mouse) Model

Alternative Model(s) Searched: tissue cultures, blood cultures, in vitro, in silico, population search

Describe the Results of the Search Using the 3 R's:  Based on the search results Replacement of the proposed Animal Model with a non-animal method because an animal model that parallels the infection process in humans would be beneficial for vaccine compound research in ZIKV(Zika).  Mice will be used to replace the use of higher animals like monkeys or primates. We will be taking all necessary measures to Reduce the amount of distress put upon the mice through such means as administering appropriate analgesics, and other methods where identified. Refinements will be implemented.  The housing of the mice will be comfortable and have appropriate nesting materials. The animals will be carefully monitored for signs of discomfort by trained personnel and handlers.  A food and water source will also be easily accessible for all the animals.


‚ÄčIACUC Red Flags

Searching just one database!  

"Alternative" as a keyword searched just by itself.

Subject Headings, keywords, terminology, and concepts linked incorrectly in searches.

Including keywords that are not relevant to the protocol.

Inadequate time period searched (Less than 5 years).

Searches completed at the last minute.



Some Books and Journals on Topic