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. The BRC animal holding area was renovated and all animals housed in the GRC were moved into the renovated space. The GRC facility was abandoned. Every three years the NIA animal program is assessed by the accrediting organization AAALACi. AAALACi site visitors toured the BRC in July 2013. The NIA animal program accreditation status is awaiting the decision of the AAALAC Council on Accreditation but full continuing accreditation is expected. CMS continues to cryopreserve important mouse lines. Twenty mouse lines were cryopreserved this year, removing animals from the program while conserving their unique genetics for future use.
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