UCLA supports biomedical research in an ongoing quest for knowledge that benefits the health and well-being of humans and other animals. Biomedical research involves the humane use of animals, and wherever possible, alternatives to non-human animal use, such as computer modeling, use of established cell lines grown in culture and, of course, humans themselves.
Animal research enhances our understanding of human and animal diseases and disabilities, and how to effectively treat them. Medical advances in areas of cancer, AIDS, heart disease, diabetes and numerous other ailments would not have been possible without animal research. It has led to the development of lifesaving procedures and medicines — among them radiation therapy, immunotherapy and other cancer treatments, open-heart surgery, fetal circulatory health treatments, organ transplantation, mental health treatments, and vaccines for infectious diseases. Animal research is also a critical component in the development and safety-testing of vaccines to combat the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
With the use of animals in research comes the responsibility for their humane treatment. At UCLA, research involving laboratory animals is subject to comprehensive review by the Chancellor’s Animal Research Committee (ARC). The ARC is an independent committee of scientists, veterinarians and members of the general public whose review determines the scientific necessity of the proposed research, ensures that all available actions are taken to minimize pain or distress, and balances the potential for such pain or distress with the potential benefits to society. The ARC ensures that the highest standards of humane treatment are met in compliance with federal and state agency regulations, and oversees rigorous personnel training and regular facility maintenance as part of its charge. UCLA is further subject to additional standards that go above and beyond those mandated by federal and state regulations, as required of institutions accredited by AAALAC International, a nonprofit organization that promotes the humane treatment of animals in science. UCLA has been continuously accredited by AAALAC since 1976.
UCLA employs thousands of people, including animal care staff, veterinarians and research scientists, and spends millions of dollars each year, to provide food, housing, sanitation, veterinary care, and other services to maximize the health and comfort of the animals used for research purposes.
Through responsible use of animals for research, UCLA will continue to break new ground in finding treatments and cures that advance human and animal health.
Selected UCLA advances in which animal research was a factor:
- Completely paralyzed man voluntarily moves his legs, UCLA scientists report
- UCLA scientist gives couple hope while searching for a cure for paralysis
- Noninvasive spinal stimulation method enables paralyzed people to regain use of hands, study finds
- UCLA biologists slow aging, extend lifespan of fruit flies
- Brain tumors respond well to combo of radiation, schizophrenia drug
- UCLA biologists ‘transfer’ a memory
- Gene associated with autism also controls growth of the embryonic brain
- Researchers discover process that may explain how Type 2 diabetes develops
- Study focuses on repair and reversal of damage caused by Huntington’s disease
- Antibiotics before liver transplants lead to better results
- Balance and movement improved in animal model of Parkinson’s disease
- Two therapies cure rare genetic disease in mice
- Antibody eradicates leukemia stem cells
- Cold plasma patch could make immunotherapy more effective for treating melanoma, study finds