The Laboratory Animal Shared Resource (LAR) provides the entire spectrum of animal-related research services, including specialized veterinary medical care, expert animal husbandry, diagnostic and surgical services, imaging resources and training of investigators and laboratory personnel. The LAR promotes the humane care and use of laboratory animals in support of basic and translational research. Although the majority of animal care services provided by LAR are related to mice and rats, the animal program at RPCI has been expanded to include larger species including rabbits, woodchucks, dogs and pigs. Two buildings are designated for the LAR. The main site is the four-story 45,000 net square foot (nsf) Vivarium, which opened in 1998, located in the Medical Research Complex. An additional 5,000 nsf is utilized in the adjacent Cancer Cell Center. The LAR Facility Director and Attending Veterinarian, Sandra (Buitrago) Sexton DVM, oversees the Veterinary Program to a standard that ensures that all services meet or exceed the criteria set in the LAR's AAALAC accreditation. She is assisted by a qualified support staff for administration and management of the facility and for provision of specialized veterinary medical care. Dr. Sexton provides training and education programs for researchers on proper care and use of animals, including: Clinical care of laboratory animals (proper handling, postoperative care, analgesia and surgery techniques) A preventive animal health-monitoring program Coordination of import/export of animals to and from other facilities, promoting a strong collaborative relationship with scientists and clinicians at other institutions with major focus in cancer research. A total of 46 staff members comprise the LAR workforce, with CCSG direct effort of 5.86 FTE. Continued support through the NCI permits the Resource to provide a standard of animal care that exceeds applicable state and federal regulations, maintains full AAALAC International accreditation, and furnishes investigators with a comprehensive program for safe, appropriate and cost-effective research animal use. Prioritization for Resource utilization is 1) peer-review-funded CCSG members;2) non-peer-review-funded CCSG members; 3) non-members and academic collaborators;and 4) external users. During the reporting period, the Laboratory Animal Shared Resource has served 83 members from 6 research programs, with 72% utilization by CCSG members with peer reviewed funding. The CCSG support provides 4% of the overall proposed budget.
All transitional research requires pre-clinical testing using laboratory animals prior to moving to clinical trials with humans. New faculty members have been recruited by the Institute to enhance its excellence in basic, translational and cancer research programs, contributing to an increased demand for the LAR. These positive developments have contributed to scientific and clinical growth at the cancer center.
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