Oregon National Primate Research Center and OHSU Comparative Medicine Honored

12/10/04    Portland, Ore.

Reviewers declare the programs to be "exemplary' and of "high quality" following separate, detailed reviews.

Independent reviews of animal care programs at both the Oregon Health & Science University Oregon National Primate Research Center and the OHSU Department of Comparative Medicine have resulted in full accreditation of both programs. In both cases, reviewers were highly complimentary of OHSU animal care. The programs were recently informed of the review outcomes by letter. The reviews were conducted by the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) International, a private, nonprofit organization that promotes the humane treatment of animals in science through voluntary accreditation and assessment programs.

The decision to continue full accreditation was based on separate, on-site investigations of each program by a committee of internationally respected animal care experts. In addition, OHSU provided extensive details about its animal care practices and protocols.

Reviewers highlighted certain aspects for each program. During examination of ONPRC's animal care, reviewers commented on the psychological well-being unit, which provides entertainment and enrichment for the animals. Veterinary and maintenance staff, and ONPRC's animal care training program were also commended in AAALAC's letter notifying ONPRC of continued full accreditation.

Comments about OHSU's Department of Comparative Medicine included mentions of administrative support and management expertise along with compliments for the program's environmental enrichment efforts and staff training program.

ONPRC has maintained uninterrupted accreditation through AAALAC since 1975. The Department of Comparative Medicine accreditation has been maintained since 1966.

More than 670 companies, universities, hospitals, government agencies and other research institutions in 24 countries have earned AAALAC accreditation, demonstrating their commitment to responsible animal care and use. These institutions volunteer to participate in AAALAC's program, in addition to complying with the local, state and federal laws that regulate animal research. Some of the institutions that have earned AAALAC accreditation include the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, The American Red Cross, and the National Institutes of Health.

Recently, OHSU has announced several key medical breakthroughs involving animals at the ONPRC and in OHSU's Department of Comparative Medicine. Those breakthroughs include:

  • A discovery that helps explain why the immune system weakens with age.
  • Research that is very timely in regard to the recent flu vaccine shortage and at risk populations.
  • Identification of a gene that delays female puberty,
  • A discovery linking early-life hormone exposure to lifelong weight issues,
  • The development of a new fertility treatment for women who lose the ability to become pregnant during cancer treatment.
  • A new method for possibly identifying and preventing premature birth,
  • Successful tests of a drug that prevent an MS-like disease in animals,
  • Several discoveries relating to the function of and uses for adult (bone marrow-derived) stem cells.

The ONPRC and OHSU Department of Comparative Medicine are both registered research institutions, inspected regularly by the United States Department of Agriculture. They operate in compliance with the Animal Welfare Act and have an assurance of regulatory compliance on file with the National Institutes of Health.

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