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Comparative Medicine


Principal Investigators must consider alternatives to procedures that may cause more than momentary or slight pain or distress to the animals, and must provide a written narrative description in the animal use protocol of the methods and sources, e.g., the Animal Welfare Information Center, used to determine that alternatives were not available.

There are two distinct purposes for the database search, both of which are important to satisfy requirements of the Public Health Service Policy, the Animal Welfare Act, and Policy #12 of the Animal Care and Resource Guide:

1) To ensure that there are no scientifically viable alternatives to the use of animals

2) To ensure that the proposed study does not unnecessarily duplicate previous work .

Both requirements must be met before IACUC approval of an animal use protocol may be obtained.


When submitting a protocol request to the IACUC, the narrative of the database search must include the names of the databases used, the date the search was performed, the time period covered in the search, and the search strategy.


At least two independent databases must be searched. Searches of the PubMed database automatically include Medline as one of the data sources and therefore Medline is not an independent database and does not fulfill the requirement for searching two databases if PubMed is used as one of the databases.

The Robert M. Bird Health Sciences Library webpage also contains helpful resources for completing the database search requirements. A librarian serves on the OUHSC IACUC to provide assistance to investigators and IACUC members reviewing database searches.


Tips on searching for animal alternatives can also be viewed here: 2005 Database Search Presentation.


Additional Resources:


Alternatives Search Service from the UC Davis Center for Animal Alternatives


ALTBIB, Alternatives to the Use of Live Vertebrates in Biomedical Research and Testing, Toxnet, National Library of Medicine




Altweb Search Engine - Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health global clearinghouse for information on alternatives to animal testing






University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC)

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)
Biomedical Sciences Building - Room 101

(405) 271-7381

On Campus Mailing Address:
IACUC Office - BMSB 101

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