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Rodent Models for NTP: What's Ahead?

July 2005

As part of a series of activities to evaluate the NTP bioassay program, a panel of international experts gathered at NIEHS June 16-17 to discuss possible changes.

Angela King-Herbert from the Laboratory of Experimental Pathology coordinated the workshop entitled, "Animal Models for the NTP Rodent Cancer Bioassay: Strains & Stocks - Should We Switch?"

Invited experts included U.S. and international scientists representing industry, academia and government. They convened in the Rall Building to discuss current strains used in cancer bioassays and the feasibility of their continued use. The panel also discussed the multiple strain approach in the cancer bioassay.

Strengths and weaknesses of both current rodent models and proposed models were discussed. General factors in selecting new models included isogenic versus outbred, sensitivity to carcinogens, spontaneous tumor/disease rate, weight and lifespan. The feasibility of using multiple strains was discussed extensively.

The first day of the workshop consisted on informational presentations followed by discussions and questions. Breakout groups gathered for in-depth discussions, and formulated responses to specific questions, and presented their responses on the second day. The breakout groups concluded that using the multiple-strain approach might be beneficial; however, consideration should be given to cost and consistency of results, which can vary by strain.

John Bucher, deputy director of the Environmental Toxicology Program and head of the Toxicology Operations Branch, said in concluding remarks that NTP will consider the recommendations. NTP scientists may contact workshop participants at a later date with additional questions, he said.

"We have at least two different scheduled presentations of the outcome of this workshop. The deliberations here will be summarized at the Toxicology Forum in Aspen in July and discussed with the NTP Board of Scientific Counselors at its meeting August 18," Bucher said.

The meeting agenda and slide presentations can be viewed on the NTP website at

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