The Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC International) has granted the Southwest National Primate Research Center (SNPRC) a prolongation of its full accreditation that assures the well-being of animals used for research purposes. The center, which is part of the Texas Biomedical Research Institute, underwent intensive evaluations from AAALAC’s Council on Accreditation to renew its status.
The nonprofit organization AAALAC inspects and evaluates research programs like the work conducted at the Southwest National Primate Research Center. The main purpose of the accreditation, which is not mandatory, is to assure that a project is not only fulfilling the minimum regulatory requisitions, but is also prioritizing the well-being and care of animals.
“We are very proud to receive full accreditation status, as it speaks to the dedication and commitment our staff has toward the care of animals at the SNPRC,” said in a press release the associate director of Veterinary Resources and Attending Veterinarian at SNPRC, John Bernal. “AAALAC accreditation is a voluntary process by which our program and our staff undergo intense scrutiny, but we see it as a critical part of our assessment program.”
“In addition to the standard monitoring by regulatory agencies, AAALAC helps us ensure we are doing everything we can to maintain the safety and high quality of care for the animals at SNPRC,” added Bernal. The accreditation was granted by the Council as a result of the center’s excellency in several key areas, such as baboon social housing and environmental enrichment, the comprehensive computerized animal database medical records program and the behavioral management program for all species at SNPRC.
“Working in the animal research industry requires a great deal of care and compassion,” stated SNPRC’s director Robert Lanford. “Our team understands that it is imperative our animals have the highest level of care, as they contribute to the scientific research being done here that is so critical to the advancement of human health and fighting disease.”
The center works in collaboration with hundreds of investigators and other facilities worldwide to develop vaccines and novel therapeutic options against viral pathogens responsible for AIDS, hepatitis, herpes, hemorrhagic fevers and parasitic diseases. Last June, it hired two new researchers, who are now working on animal models of human stem cell therapies for degenerative diseases of the eye and muscular dystrophy.