Live Animal Imaging Facility Program Statement

The imaging system will have a positive impact on future sponsored project applications. Pending applications utilize this system to identify tumor development in studies aimed at dissecting the molecular genetics of pancreatic cancer using mouse models. The use of the imaging system allows the use of a smaller cohort of animals for this research as animals do not need to be sacrificed to ascertain the presence of tumor lesions. A potentially greater use of this imaging system is in translational research involving therapeutic trials using animal models for disease. For example, in cancer studies, current pre-clinical studies are often done on cancer cell lines in culture, or on animals with subcutaneous implantation of cancer cells. Neither of these scenarios mimics the true in vivo conditions of human malignancy, and the high failure rate of therapeutic compounds tested this way after transfer to the clinic suggests that this is a major impediment to the identification of effective therapeutic strategies.

It is hypothesized that compounds with demonstrated efficacy on tumors developed 'in situ' in animal models will have a higher success rate after translation to the clinic, as these scenarios will more faithfully recapitulate the conditions under which human tumors grow. The ability to image tumors 'in situ' rapidly and with high sensitivity using the IVIS imaging system, and the correlation between tumor size and the amount of emitted light, indicate that the IVIS imaging system provides a mechanism to rapidly evaluate potential therapeutic compounds. The imaging system can be likewise applied to any other disease state in which disease burden can be quantified (e.g. the number of bacteria in the systemic circulation).