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Suggested Citation:"Concluding Comments, John Strandberg." National Research Council. 2000. Microbial Status and Genetic Evaluation of Mice and Rats: Proceedings of the 1999 US/Japan Conference. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9987.
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Concluding Comments

John Strandberg

National Center for Research Resources

Bethesda, MD

My summary will be very brief because my review will cover the broad range of topics discussed during this ambitious program. We started by addressing the issue of microbiologic testing, and Dr. Shek recommended standardization by constant improvement, rather than setting up a regulatory-based mechanism to achieve microbiologic testing standards. He gave good reasons for doing this, including the continuing recognition of new agents as well as new methods for diagnosis.

Dr. Riley, talking about the standardization of tests, outlined a very exciting program in which they are now engaged in a first phase. This program uses standard specimens to determine the capability or accuracy of individual laboratories and to develop standard operating procedures, which I believe have been needed for a long time. From my perspective, this development is a very positive and important step.

Dr. Itoh then discussed factors that cause a lack of uniformity in results. His discussion was based on encounters in the EQUEST monitoring center with discrepancies between several specific agents such as Pasteurella pneumotropica and hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome. He recommended that in harmonizing the tests, the methods must be enumerated along with the recommendations for their usefulness.

Dr. Shibahara described laboratories in Japan, which include 53 national university animal centers plus centers in private universities and municipalities and prefectures. He outlined a concern about international transfer of transgenic and knockout mice, which complicates the worldwide situation considerably. He noted that animals rejected for entry into Japanese laboratories because of infec

Suggested Citation:"Concluding Comments, John Strandberg." National Research Council. 2000. Microbial Status and Genetic Evaluation of Mice and Rats: Proceedings of the 1999 US/Japan Conference. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9987.
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tions they carried have comprised about 8% of both domestic and international introductions.

Following these presentations were additional discussions on the desirability of the establishment of recommendations by regulatory organizations, rather than just letting standards evolve over time.

Dr. Katiyama pointed out the need to share minimum health profiles and also the importance of requesting reference substances. She compared the agents in the rat serology screens among systems devised by COLASA, Microbiological Associates, and the ICLAS-Asian laboratories in Japan.

In the next session, Dr. Smith talked about emerging and reemerging viruses of laboratory rats and mice, including mouse and rat parvoviruses. She also highlighted mouse hepatitis virus, which has existed a long time but continues to recur and has a high prevalence in many mouse colonies including several I have encountered. The effects of many of these agents are extremely important, not only in causing overt disease but also in modifying the immunologic responses. Of course, their effects on genetically modified animals can be expected to be extremely variable as well.

Dr. Morse addressed the topic of emerging infections. Using the example of hantaviruses, he pointed out the need to avoid complacency, the need for adequate detection and diagnosis, and the importance of recognizing the role of biodiversity. There are indeed zoonoses that still remain to be identified, and animal models will be essential for studying such infectious disease. He recommended that the group take advantage of information DARPA can provide.

Dr. Goto discussed Helicobacter hepaticus detection and elimination using polymerase chain reaction. He also pointed out the most common types of helicobacters, which are important in causing clinical disease in mice in Japan.

Dr. Itoh talked about H. hepaticus as a contaminant of tumor tissues that have been passed in mice and also pointed out how to select tests for new infections. He proposed a five-tiered categorization of agents based on pathogenicity, effects on experimental results, convenience of testing, prevalence, and induction of infection. He made a plea for a testing scheme that is not overly extensive.

This very briefly summarizes the first nine presentations and related discussions.

Suggested Citation:"Concluding Comments, John Strandberg." National Research Council. 2000. Microbial Status and Genetic Evaluation of Mice and Rats: Proceedings of the 1999 US/Japan Conference. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9987.
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Suggested Citation:"Concluding Comments, John Strandberg." National Research Council. 2000. Microbial Status and Genetic Evaluation of Mice and Rats: Proceedings of the 1999 US/Japan Conference. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9987.
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US/Japan meetings on laboratory animal science have been held virtually every year since 1980 under the US/Japan Cooperative Program on Science and Technology. Over the years these meetings have resulted in a number of important documents including the Manual of Microbiologic Monitoring of Laboratory Animals published in 1994 and the article Establishment and Preservation of Reference Inbred Strains of Rats for General Purposes. In addition to these publications, the meetings have been instrumental in increasing awareness of the need for microbiologic monitoring of laboratory rodents and the need for genetic definition and monitoring of mice and rats.

In cooperation with the Comparative Medicine section of NCRR/NIH, the ILAR Council and staff are pleased to become the host for this important annual meeting and look forward to participating in future meetings. The support and sponsorship of NCRR (P40 RR 11611) in the United States and the Central Institute for Experimental Animals in Japan are gratefully acknowledged. Bringing together the leading scientists in the field of laboratory animal care has resulted in increased understanding of American and Japanese approaches to laboratory animal science and should continue to strengthen efforts to harmonize approaches aimed at resolving common challenges in the use of animal models for biomedical research and testing. This effort to improve understanding and cooperation between Japan and the United States should also be useful in developing similar interaction with other regions of the world including Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia.

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