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Literature Searches for Animal Testing Alternatives

For help completing IACUC protocol applications.

Writing the Narrative

As per Section 2.31 (d)(1)(ii) of the Animal Welfare Act (quoted on the Getting Started page), the PI is required to provide a written narrative to the IACUC as a means of demonstrating that alternatives to painful procedures have been explored and are not available.

For UTSA researchers, this narrative is covered by the Literature Review section of the IACUC Application (Section 3B) and provides the following information -

  1. Date of the search
    1. Should be close to application submission date
  2. Years covered by the search
    1. New protocols should cover the entire span of the field of research on this subject
    2. Renewals need only cover the previous 3 years since the original submission
  3. Keywords used in the search
    1. Should show a strategy, not just a list of all keywords used combined using "and"
    2. It is helpful for your report if you keep a log of your searches in a spreadsheet or text document
    3. See Appendix 2 below for examples
  4. Resources Used
    1. Names of the databases searched
    2. Due to variation in subject coverage and sources indexed, one database is not adequate

Regardless of sources used, the written narrative should include adequate information for the IACUC to assess that a reasonable and good faith effort was made to determine the availability of alternatives or alternative methods. In addition, an explanation of why an alternative was not used in the experimental procedure (if an alternative is discovered) must be appended to the literature search report.

Appendix 2

Search Strategy/Narrative Examples

Example 1

Spared Nerve Injury" AND Neuropath*
Pain* AND (surg* or postsurg* or postoper* or "post surg*" or incision*
(Spared Nerve Injury" AND Neuropath*) AND (Pain* AND (surg* or postsurg* or postoper* or "post surg*" or incision*)

Example 2

Set 1    (sciurus OR squirrel*) NOT monkey*
Set 2    anesth* OR anaesth* OR anasth*
Set 3    Set 1 AND Set 2
Set 4    captur* OR trap*
Set 5    Set 1 AND Set 4
Set 6    stress OR distress* OR pain* OR mortalit* OR surviv*
Set 7    Set 5 AND Set 6
Set 8    telemetry OR "data log*" OR "bio-log*" OR radio OR collar*
Set 9    Set 1 AND Set 8

Example 3

#1    animal OR animals OR rat OR rats OR rodent OR rodents
#2     model* or method* or technique*
#3     hepatotoxic* AND (hepatoprotect* OR protect* OR anti-hepatotoxic*)
#4    silymarin
#5    silymarin AND (anti-tuberculosis OR antituberculosis OR isoniazid OR rifampicin OR pyrazinamide)
#6    "oral gavage" OR "per os" OR "oral administration"
#7    #2 AND #6
#8    #1 AND #2
#9    #1 AND #2 AND #6
#10    ("primary hepatocyt*" OR vitro OR chip OR flow)
#11    #4 AND #3 AND #10
#12     #1 AND #2 AND #3
#13     #5 AND #12