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.
Jove: Research protocols on various topics.
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
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.
("housing, animal"[MeSH Terms] OR ("housing"[All Fields] AND "animal"[All Fields]) OR "animal housing"[All Fields] OR ("animal"[All Fields] AND "housing"[All Fields])) AND ("Stress"[Journal] OR "stress"[All Fields]) AND reduction[All Fields]
(((((“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])
("mice"[MeSH Terms] OR "mice"[All Fields]) AND ("mice"[MeSH Terms] OR "mice"[All Fields] OR "mouse"[All Fields]) AND ("pain"[MeSH Terms] OR "pain"[All Fields]) AND distress[All Fields] AND reduction[All Fields] AND alternative[All Fields]
Research Protocol Samples:
Alternative methods should incorporate aspects of reduction, refinement, or replacement of animal use in pursuit of the reduction of the number of animals used and avoiding needless duplication to accomplish the objectives of the research.
Investigators are required to search for alternatives to the use of animals with an emphasis on: Reduction (minimize the number of animals used through statistical design, pilot studies, or tissue sharing), Refinement (modifying techniques to minimize the pain and distress associated with techniques like prolonged restraint, death as an endpoint, tumor induction, tissue or blood collection, and toxicity studies), and Replacement (use of non-animal models such as simulators, computer models, or tissue culture to replace models or techniques that use live animals).
In addition to the search, describe the results of the search with respect to the availability of options to replace live animals or reduce the number of animals used, and describe if the results found could or could not be can be utilized to accomplish the goals of the research.
Multiple models of ovarian tumor studies were found in multiple species. A high-throughput 3-dimensional culture as a pre-clinical model of disease as described by Mendiola, et al. will be used to reduce the number of animals in one arm of this study. By utilizing a non-animal model, the number of mice to generate ovarian tumors to predict preclinical disease has been reduced.
Alternative methods should also incorporate aspects of reduction, refinement, or replacement of animal use in pursuit of the minimization of pain and distress consistent with the objectives of the research.
The Animal Welfare Act Regulations and USDA/APHIS Policy #12 require the PI to consider alternatives to procedures that may cause more than momentary or slight pain or distress to the animals, and provide IACUC with a written narrative of the methods that may result in reduced pain or distress for the animals.
Investigators are required to search for alternatives to procedures that may cause more than momentary or slight pain and distress to the animal. Provide a written description to the IACUC to ensure that a reasonable and good faith effort has been made to determine the availability of alternatives and options for painful and distressful procedures. With the search, describe the results of the search with respect to the availability of options to substitute painful or distressful procedures with less painful procedures in the animals used and describe if the results found could or could not be utilized to accomplish the goals of the research.
Example related to an alternative to metabolic caging to reduce stress:
We will not use the traditional metabolic cages for urine collection. Instead we will use the method of Watts as modified by Kurien et al. By utilizing spot urine collection techniques, the use of metabolic cages for urine collection has been avoided. This refinement lessens the stress on the animal that may accompany being temporarily singly-housed in the metabolic cage.
Example related to an alternative found that could not be utilized:
Kamala T (2007) J Immunol Methods 328: 204-214 describes an alternative method to potentially painful footpad injections that involves injection of the hock as an alternative. This alternative can’t be used because the skin character of the footpad more closely mimics human skin, which is an important feature of the model proposed.
Information from this section provided by:
Vance P. Hobbs, BS, MBA
Director, IACUC & IBC
Office of Research
Baylor College of Medicine
IACUC 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.