Animal Research at the University of Utah

Like other major research universities, the University of Utah (U) uses animals in research projects and specialized training applications aimed at furthering human and animal health. Animal research is conducted only when the project has a valuable scientific purpose and is aimed at combating disease and relieving human or animal suffering.

Most of the animal research done at the U is supported by grants from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) or National Science Foundation, which fund only the most scientifically meritorious projects. Most advances in human and veterinary medicine during the past century have been the result of research with animals, including: antibiotics, anesthetics, open heart surgery, laparoscopy, vaccines, insulin for diabetes, kidney dialysis, organ transplants, and treatments for leukemia, asthma, and high blood pressure.

Federal regulations require the testing of all new drugs and many new medical devices in animals before they are tested in humans. For a number of key research problems in biomedical science there are no suitable alternatives to the use of animals and animal research therefore remains essential to progress in medicine.

Evidence to support the importance of animal research includes the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine awarded to University of Utah Professor Mario Capecchi. He developed important new animal research models using revolutionary “gene targeting” techniques in lab mice that have allowed researchers to create more than 500 mouse models of different human diseases, including diabetes, depression, and cancer.

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The University of Utah is registered with both USDA and PHS. In addition, the University of Utah Animal Care and Use Programs and Facilities are accredited by AAALAC, an independent company for laboratory accreditation.