Notification of Change in NCI Contract Status for the Registry of Tumors in Lower Animals (RTLA)

Notice Number: NOT-CA-07-013

Key Dates
Release Date: February 27, 2007

Issued by
National Cancer Institute (NCI) (


This Notice announces the availability of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Registry of Tumors in Lower Animals (RTLA) resource to appropriate organizations and/or agencies interested in supporting the annual operations of the RTLA. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) support for the RTLA will end in September 2007, after 40 years of sponsorship of this valuable resource.  Costs for supporting these operations include housing space for the specimen collection, photography equipment, reprints, and personnel costs for several part-time pathologists and a Registrar/Research Assistant.

The RTLA maintains a large archival collection of pathologic tissue specimens from cold-blooded vertebrates (reptiles, amphibians, and fish) and invertebrates.  Comprised of greater than 7,700 cases, the collection features examples of neoplastic and non-neoplastic diseases from 1,088 animal species.  Specimens in the collection primarily consist of preserved tissues, paraffin-embedded blocks, and histologic sections on glass slides, accompanied by case histories and other relevant collection data.  The RTLA also houses more than 7,400 article reprints on disorders of lower animals.  These materials were submitted by 1,099 scientists from 48 states in the United States and 85 countries so that their contributions would be available for future study.  The RTLA continues to serve the scientific research community via services such as consultation, publication, sponsorship of workshops and internships, and by making its archival tissue collection data available publicly on the World Wide Web.   The fate of these specimens, many of which are entirely unique, is now in question.

Studies of tumors in lower animals have provided models for human cancers and insights into the pathogenesis of neoplasia, including the influence of genetics, infectious agents, and immune mechanisms on tumor induction.  Examples of such models include: gene-dependent neoplasia in fruit flies and platyfish/swordtail hybrids; herpesvirus-generated oncogenicity in leopard frogs; and aflatoxin-induced carcinogenicity in rainbow trout.  Although the RTLA has traditionally focused on carcinogenesis, approximately 50% of collection cases involve one or more non-neoplastic disorders; therefore, the scope of the RTLA could readily be expanded to include further representations of infectious diseases, environmental toxicity, and/or effects of genetic knockouts in lower animals.  This shift in emphasis would be accompanied by a name change to the “Registry of Pathology in Lower Animals.”  The future Registry could also easily incorporate a frozen tissue archive.


Organizations interested in providing support for this important resource are encouraged to contact:

Phil Daschner
RTLA Project Officer
Cancer Etiology Branch
Division of Cancer Biology
National Cancer Institute
6130 Executive Boulevard, Room 5014, MSC 7344
Bethesda, MD 20892-7344 (for U.S. Postal Service express or regular mail)
Rockville, MD 20852 (for express/courier delivery; non-USPS service)
Telephone: 301-496-1951
Fax: 301-496-2025

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