The CMS supports the research of NIA scientists. A critical focus of this support is training in the humane care and handling of research animals. CMS is responsible for housing and care of research animals and for ensuring their well-being. The animal program and animal laboratory areas are inspected and evaluated at least twice each year by the NIA Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC), in compliance with federal regulations and guidelines. CMS works to establish firm and consistent resource management while enhancing a collaborative relationship with investigators. These efforts are critical to insure the optimal use of available resources while meeting the needs of the investigators. The training offered through NIA CMS ensures that all animal handling is in compliance with NIA, NIH, and federal regulations and guidelines for the continued assurance of full accreditation by the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, International (AAALACi). The NIA CMS also develops and/or recommends refinements in humane care and handling and provides training to NIA intramural researchers. All NIA research staff using animals are required to complete facility-specific training. This training includes requirements for facility entry, proper animal handling procedures, and other related issues. The NIA APD and ACUC Chairperson also provide updates on new/revised Federal, NIH, and/or NIA animal welfare guidelines at monthly NIA meetings. GRC second floor animal holding area renovations and repairs to equipment were completed. Animals from the BRC were moved into the renovated space to allow for remodeling of the BRC. Every three years the NIA animal program is assessed by the accrediting organization AAALACi. In 2009, the NIA animal program was conferred continued full accreditation. The 2012 accreditation has been deferred until 2013 due to a complete remodel of the vivarium in the BRC in the final quarter of 2012. Plans to remodel the BRC began in early 2012. Permanent walls will replace structures crafted from poles and plastic sheeting that were used to delineate animal housing rooms. The remodeled facility will contain additional research procedure areas, holding for breeding and aging colonies, and 2 suites for housing animals under Animal Bio-Safety Level 2 conditions. Construction is scheduled to begin in fall of 2012. CMS negotiated and implemented a collaborative cryopreservation program with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Sixty-seven mouse lines have or are in the process of being cryopreserved, removing animals from the program while conserving their unique genetics for future use.
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