Committee Policy

Policies on Specific Procedures

Production of Monoclonal Antibodies

A number of in vitro methods have been developed to replace the mouse ascites method in production of monoclonal antibodies. Consideration of these in vitro methods is consistent with the federal mandate to avoid or minimize discomfort, pain, and distress in animals and to consider alternative methods that will reduce, refine, or replace the use of animals. The Public Health Service (PHS) has reminded research institutions of this mandate and informed Animal Care and Use Committees of the expectation that, prior to the approval of any project in which the mouse ascites method is proposed, the committee will determine that (i) the proposed use is scientifically justified, (ii) methods that avoid or minimize discomfort, distress, and pain (including in vitro methods) have been considered, and (iii) the latter have been found unsuitable (OPRR Reports, November 17, 1997).

The staff of the Cell and Hybridoma Facility is experienced in the production of monoclonal antibodies using several techniques. The Facility is located in the Molecular Biology Building. Dr. Paul Kapke is prepared to discuss in vitro techniques that can be used in the individual investigator's laboratory. Arrangements can also be made for the staff of the Cell and Hybridoma Facility to produce the required antibodies.

Freund's Complete Adjuvant

Adjuvants are added to many antigenic preparations to increase their immunogenicity and efficacy. Freund's Complete Adjuvant (FCA) has historically been one of the better adjuvants, but it typically causes significant tissue damage at the site of injection. Therefore, the IACUC discourages its use. For more information on currently acceptable adjuvants, please consult with laboratory animal resources by contacting

When FCA must be used, the IACUC will approve its use for the initial inoculation only. Subsequent inoculations must be done with another adjuvant. Whenever possible, inoculation with FCA should be subcutaneous rather than intradermal, intramuscular, or intravenous. Footpad injections must be specifically justified to the IACUC. The FCA injected must not exceed 10 µg mycobacteria per injection site (5 µg per site in mice). This guideline can be met by limiting injection of a standard FCA solution (0.1 mg/ml) to 0.1 ml/site (0.05 ml/site in mice).

Use of FCA is considered a painful procedure and analgesics are to be used following inoculation. Specific justification must be provided to the IACUC in writing if analgesics cannot be used.

Personnel using FCA need to be aware that humans accidentally inoculated with FCA have experienced chronic pain associated with severe inflammation. As reported in Laboratory Animal Science (391:400-404, 1989), these individuals also have an increased risk of severe allergic reactions, possible autoimmune disease, uveitis, arthritis, and increased incidence of neoplasia.

Humane Euthanasia

In 2020, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) published a revised and updated "AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals." This report has been accepted by the USDA and the PHS as the basis for selecting an appropriate method of euthanasia. In order to obtain IACUC approval to perform euthanasia, a PI must utilize a method approved by the AVMA or provide specific justification for use of a method that is not consistent with these recommendations. The IACUC may also require proof of competency at performing conditionally accepted euthanasia procedures.

Experimental Procedures Conducted in Animal Facilities

Experimental procedures unlikely to cause pain or distress may be carried out in the animal rooms. However, where procedure rooms are available in the animal facility, the PI is encouraged to use them whenever possible. Use of these rooms may be scheduled with the facility supervisor.

Animals may be transported to laboratories for the conduct of experimental procedures. However, they may not be kept outside the animal facility for more than 12 hours without IACUC approval.

Euthanasia, procedures requiring inhalant anesthetic, and potentially painful or stressful procedures may not be conducted in an animal unless the PI has obtained prior IACUC approval.

Use of Radioisotopes in Animal Facilities

Research projects that involve the use of radioactive material or radiation producing devices must be authorized by the Iowa State University Radiation Safety Committee (RSC). In addition, the facility where the animals are to be housed must be inspected by the Radiation Safety Officer, and the caretaker assigned responsibility for the animals must complete a seminar in radiation safety before the animals are exposed to radioactive material. It is preferable for the PI to meet with the animal care staff and facility manager before animals are ordered to assure that specific animal care instructions (e.g., disposal of bedding and carcasses) are thoroughly explained. Additional information can be found in the ISU Policy Library under the heading Radioactive Material Use Authorization.

Guidelines for Research Involving Transgenic Animals

Approval for research involving transgenic animals must be obtained from the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).

The IBC review will determine

  • compliance with National Institutes of Health and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service guidelines;
  • adequacy of designated laboratory facilities;
  • adequacy of specified containment procedures; and
  • the biosafety containment level under which the project must be conducted.

The IACUC review will determine

  • compliance with existing animal care and use policies (alleviation of pain and distress, adequate veterinary care, adequate training of personnel, approved method of euthanasia, etc.) as outlined by the Public Health Service, the United States Department of Agriculture, the State of Iowa, and Iowa State University.

Disposition of Animals at the Termination of the Project

  • Nonsurvival projects: animals must be humanely euthanized and incinerated.
  • Survival projects: animals may remain in the colony/herd and be used in another project as approved by the IBC and the IACUC. Animals must retain their individual identifications. The transfer to another project/PI must be recorded on the animal's identification record and the record must be maintained by the PI of the succeeding project.

Purchase of Dogs and Cats from USDA Class B Licensees

As a means of assuring the public that Iowa State University does not use stolen pets in research and teaching, dogs and cats may not be purchased from USDA Class B licensees. A Class B licensee is a person whose business includes the purchase and/or resale of any USDA-covered animal.