Cancer Study Terminated at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Biomedical Research Labs due to Quality Issues

Cancer Study Terminated at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Biomedical Research Labs due to Quality Issues

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s (RPI) biomedical research labs had a study terminated according to an animal activist group report filed with a federal agency overseeing the welfare of animal in research labs.

What Happened?

Apparently an in-house veterinarian raised a red flag on a number of issues to the Institutional Animal Care Use Committee (IACUC). This body oversees compliance in animal research. The observer noticed that one mouse died and another was “euthanized” after exhibiting evidence of malnourishment and dehydration, reports SAEN

Quality Matters for Mice Too

Although preclinical, animal research is not nearly as controlled as human-based clinical trials (and for good reason) researchers don’t get a free pass either. A dedication and commitment is paramount to a quality-driven research organization. The policies lead to procedures which lead to human practices which ultimately leave artifacts of record that auditors and inspectors can review.

In an internal investigation, observations at the RPI preclinical animal labs point to the possibility that researchers haven’t been as well trained as they should have not to mention other practices such as utilizing mouse strains not approved for this research project.


RPI Associate Vice President Robert Hull summarized the investigation’s findings as well as corrective actions:

  • Animal misidentification and errors in record keeping
  • Communication breakdown among student researchers and the staff including Professor Xavier Intes who oversees the cancer imaging lab

The rest of the report can be read here

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

A private research university in Troy, New  York, the system includes campuses in Hartford and Groton, Connecticut, it was established in 1824. It is the oldest technological university in the English-speaking world. The institute includes an on-campus business incubator and the 1,250-acre Rensselaer Technology Park.  The school has produced a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. Research facilities includes life sciences (biotech and pharma). 

Call to Action: Whether preclinical or clinical, be demanding of your research sites and centers. Ensure they have their quality “ducks in a row.”