Bioethics Blogs

Smart New Guidance Gives Institutions the Opportunity to Be More Efficient

By Shannon Reynolds, BA, CPIA, RLAT

Shannon Reynolds, regulatory compliance specialist at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, recently shared her experience at the Northwest Association for Biomedical Research (NWABR) 2015 IACUC Conference on NWABR’s official blog, “Thank Research!“. We are pleased to share her thoughts and observations about a recent OLAW Notice Number NOT-OD-14-126, which was a topic of discussion at the conference. 

The Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) oversees the care and use of animals in research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). IACUCs are responsible for oversight at the institutional level, which includes the review of research protocols and their compliance.

This past summer, OLAW issued guidance formally known as “Notice Number NOT-OD-14-126” (in government-speak), and it was a hot topic during the 2015 NWABR IACUC Conference.

In short, now some changes to an original research plan (or protocol) submitted by a researcher can be approved by a more efficient process. Instead of researchers resubmitting to the IACUC from scratch, a select group of changes can be reviewed against policies previously approved by the IACUC, through a process called Veterinary Verification and Consultation (VVC), with caveats.

Why would institutions want to do this? Mainly because it offers a new, more efficient method for IACUCs to approve small changes in the researcher’s roadmap that would otherwise need to be submitted to the IACUC for a lengthier review. This change will increase efficiency for IACUCs and researchers. VVC is a common sense approach to support the forward motion of research, while continuing to protect animals involved.So, “This guidance sounds great, but how can I USE it?” Well, if you’re a researcher or administrator looking to escape red tape, you’re in luck.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.