The Animal Sciences Department comprises of three inter-related sections, namely Primate Medicine and Surgery, Colony Management and Diagnostics & Pathology laboratories. The primary responsibility of the department is the acquisition, maintenance and availing of laboratory animals, especially non- human primates (NHPs), for research activities carried out at the Institute. This inevitably encompasses the health care, provision of veterinary and related technical services during the carrying out of scientific procedures and investigations utilizing these animals.
This is a level 2 biosafety facility that can hold up to 15 baboons in individual cages. This allows work using high risk pathogens such as HIV, SHIV and malaria to be carried out at IPR.
Built as a result of collaboration with the INSERM 371 Stem Cell And Brain Research Institute, France and the University of Nairobi, this facility allows study into behavioural characteristics, especially the circadian timing system in the NHP.
Isolation or sick animal wards
Animals undergoing treatments that require close monitoring are temporarily housed here. This facility comprises of four separate rooms each with a holding capacity of up to 8 animals held in single cages.
Wild-trapped animals are held for 90 days in the quarantine facility.This facility is compartmentalized to allow gradual conditioning of animals into captivity. Here, the animals are amenable to sampling and hence biological characterization with special reference to zoonoses. Animals are tested for common parasites and microbes including tuberculosis. The reference range of microbes for such testing is expanding in order to meet the requirements for international recognition and accreditation. Animals destined for research into HIV/ AIDS are subjected to testing for SLTV and SIV status.
The animal colony
The Institute has cumulatively, as at end of September 2007, used or processed 3433 non-human since inception. In the past the colony has held as many as 700 non human primates at a single time. Currently the animal population stands at 365, comprising of monkeys of different species and a varying number of rodents.
Ethical and animal welfare concerns form a strong component of the Department’s animal husbandry and research activities. All routine procedures involving animal care and use have been documented and a comprehensive Standard Operating Procedures document prepared. These SOPs are continually being updated and revised. Before any experimental procedure is carried out, the Institutional Scientific and Ethical Review Committee (ISERC) and Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC) review all the proposals for scientific merit and welfare concerns respectively. The Department, as the implementer of procedures on animals has official representation at both committees.
Rodents and other research animals
The Department has a rodent and lower vertebrate breeding and holding program. Current animals include laboratory mice (C57BL, Balb C, CBA). In order to serve the newly introduced Human Trypanosomiasis Program, a breeding colony of Swiss White mice has been introduced into the rodent holding facility.
Research support services
The primate medicine and surgery section provides the bulk of surgical and treatment research support services for clinical and research purposes. The section boasts of a closed circuit TV monitored laparoscopy facility. This has helped the Department refine the surgical techniques from the open to key-hole surgery when carrying out abdominal surgery during biology research e.g. endometriosis and IVF.
This program aims to develop primate models for use in neuroscience research. Currently, efforts are directed towards the cerebral hypo-perfusion project, a collaborative study between the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and IPR. Important progress has been made towards the establishment of a baboon model aimed at elucidating the role of cerebral ischemia in the pathogenesis of chronic neurodegenerative diseases, principally dementia of the Alzheimer type.
Pathology and Diagnostic laboratories
The unit offers diagnostic and pathology services to the institute in the areas of haematology, parasitology, bacteriology, mycology, gross and histo-pathology. It is poised to expand the scope of diagnostic services with the view of attracting a wider clientele in the field of wildlife and veterinary medicine.
The department vision
The department aspires to provide quality laboratory animals, especially NHPs, for carrying out biomedical research with strict regard to the philosophy of the three Rs in order to make IPR a centre of excellence in biomedical research. In order to achieve international recognition and accreditation, the department will strive to ensure that its SOPs are implemented, that the Animal Holding facilities and environment are continually improved so as to promote animal care and welfare.
In carrying out Biomedical work involving animals, the Institute of Primate Research (IPR) is guided by the International Guiding Principles for Biomedical Research Involving Animals developed by the Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences. The Institution complies with all applicable provisions of the following laws, regulations, and policies governing the care and use of laboratory animals.
- THE GUIDE FOR THE CARE AND USE OF LABORATORY ANIMALS (the Guide, NRC 2011)
- KENYAN LAW IN PARTICULAR: THE WILDLIFE ACT CAP 276; SESSIONAL POLICY PAPER ` NO 3 OF 1975 ON MANAGEMENT OF WILDLIFE IN KENYA; PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS CHAPTER 360 (REVISED 1983).
- GUIDELINES FOR CARE AND USE OF LABORATORY ANIMALS IN KENYA DEVELOPED BY THE KENYA VETERINARY ASSOCIATION AND THE KENYA LAB ANIMALS TECHNICIANS ASSOCIATION (1989).
- INSTITUTIONAL REGULATIONS AND POLICIES ON SCIENCE AND ETHICS AS ENFORCED BY THE INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW COMMITTEE (IRC)
- APPENDIX A OF THE EUROPEAN CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF VERTEBRATE ANIMALS USED FOR EXPERIMENTAL AND SCIENTIFIC PURPOSES (ETS NO 123, 2006)
- INTERNATIONAL REGULATIONS AND RESOURCES (e.g. CITES; GUIDE FOR THE CARE AND USE OF LABORATORY ANIMALS; EUROPEAN PRIMATE RESOURCES NETWORK/PRIMATE VACCINE EVALUATION NETWORK)
- STATEMENT OF COMPLIANCE WITH STANDARDS FOR HUMANE CARE AND USE OF LABORATORY ANIMALS BY FOREIGN INSTITUTIONS IDENTIFICATION NUMBER A5796-01 ISSUED BY THE USE NIH OFFICE OF LABORATORY ANIMAL WELFARE (OLAW) , AND COVERS ALL PUBLIC HEALTH SUPPORTED ACTIVITIES INVOLVING LIVE VERTEBRATE ANIMALS.
admin July 19, 2012