Washington Update

NIH Publishes New Animal Research Resource Page

By: Naomi Charalambakis
Wednesday, October 26, 2022
On October 11, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued a new policy resource page, “Animals in NIH Research,” that details how, why, and when NIH uses animals in biomedical research. Now part of NIH’s broader “Policy & Compliance” guidance for grant recipients, the new page emphasizes NIH’s commitment to supporting humane and ethically conducted animal research by highlighting the following topics:
  • Why animals are used in research
  • How animals have helped improve public health
  • Why properly designed experiments are critical to animal research and advancing public health
  • How NIH ensures the care of research animals
  • When alternatives to animals are used in research

In the “How Animals Have Helped Improve Public Health” section, NIH shares key examples of how research with animals has enabled advancements in prevention, early detection, and treatment for numerous diseases such as breast cancer, epilepsy, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and most recently, COVID-19. Furthermore, the page underscores how animal research informs the understanding and treatment of animal diseases, including cancers that naturally occur in pets.

The new resource aligns with several of the recommendations produced by the NIH Working Group on Enhancing Rigor, Transparency, and Translatability in Animal Research last year, as well as FASEB’s previous comments. For example, Recommendation 3.5 of the working group’s final report encourages NIH to educate the public on the value of animal research by emphasizing the translational relevance to cures for human diseases. In response to the final report, FASEB recommended NIH broaden the scope of its outreach to also include the historic achievements animal research has made in improving animal health.

Additional resources and examples about the value of animal research are available here on the FASEB website.