Senior personnel within a toxicopathology facility are not always available to carry out peer reviews of studies performed in house. Outsourcing the peer review process saves management time, is cost-effective and is independent of local bias.

I spent two years conducting peer reviews, organising, and participating in pathology working groups while employed by the US National Toxicology Program. These functions have been a significant proportion of my working time since then.

I perform independent peer reviews either in my own offices or on client premises. If undertaken on a double-headed microscope at the client’s premises, a peer review also serves a useful teaching function for study pathologists. Most peer reviews can be carried out in a short-period of time (1-3 days), or a number of studies can be reviewed during a week’s visit.

A thorough peer review of a carcinogenicity study typically requires 2 weeks. Where a study pathologist is evaluating his or her first carcinogenicity study it can be very helpful to schedule a short review after the first 50-100 animals have been read in order to identify probable target organs, set grading levels for non-neoplastic lesions, and identify potential problems which would require more time to resolve at the end of the study. Peer review is typically costed on a time basis, and prices are reasonable
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