Veni, Vidi, In Vivo: Conquering Non-invasive Imaging for Pre-clinical Drug Development
We may have taken poetic liberty on Julius Caesar’s quote, but the point is clear: More than ever, we need the best minds working the best tools conquering the biggest challenges.
To that point, pre-clinical drug development workflow includes toxicity evaluation at iteratively higher biological levels: cellular, tissue, organ, and whole organism. The ability to model and image at each of these levels is a powerful tool for molecule evaluation and development.
In vivo small animal modeling and imaging is an important link between ex vivo cellular studies and clinical studies. Ex vivo 3-dimensional (3D) cellular modeling and imaging is considered in the companion discussion available here.
Capabilities and Benefits
In vivo small animal modeling and imaging make it possible to visualize biological events in an anatomical context, thus maximizing biological understanding of the candidate molecule. Such information is useful to confirm and expand upon cellular models and contributes to translational medicine downstream with the aim of shortening the time to clinical trials.
Of course, In vivo imaging is an ideal strategy for generating the predictive datasets needed for drug development. Real-time small animal imaging provides fast, accurate, quantitative data for downstream studies.
Small animal imaging is non-invasive, making it useful for longitudinal studies and datasets. That means more data is obtained from fewer animals, providing cost savings as well as advancing the Reduce, Replace, and Refine principles of animal research.
Needs and Challenges
In vivo small animal imaging technologies must be highly sensitive and provide high resolution to generate the data quality required for accurate analysis. The data must be properly calibrated and reproducible in order to reliably characterize toxicity pathways and effects.
In vivo small animal studies routinely address different questions in terms of drug toxicity. Therefore, it must be easy to integrate different imaging modalities into one workflow to maximize data generation and efficiency. An integrated, automated workflow that provides high throughput and is easy to use also contributes to robust and reliable data generation.
It can be challenging to clearly and fully grasp the implications of using homogeneous animal models to predict outcomes in human clinical trials. Advanced data analysis software, coupled with in-depth data, is essential to accurately translate small animal data for other downstream studies, including clinical trial design.
Download our whitepaper about the key issues, implications, and recommended strategies for drug toxicity evaluation using in vivo small animal and ex vivo 3D cellular modeling and imaging.