“Animal Models for Therapeutic Strategies” published by Cambridge Healthtech Institute

On March 5, 2010, Cambridge Healthtech Institute (CHI) announced the publication of our new book-length report, Animal Models for Therapeutic Strategies. This new Insight Pharma Report discusses the use of animal models to develop new paradigms for drug discovery and development in important human diseases. The report also discusses strategies for developing more predictive animal models of drug efficacy. Poorly predictive animal models are a major reason for Phase II and Phase III pipeline drug attrition. Thus this new report complements our May 2009 Insight Pharma Report, Approaches to Reducing Phase II Attrition.

We have an article, published in Genetic Engineering News in 2004, on the use of animal models in developing novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), available free on our website. This article, based on our 2004 animal models report that is now out of print, gives examples of the use of animal models (the mouse, C. elegans, Drosophila, and the zebrafish) in developing therapeutic strategies. These animal model studies were key to the eventual development of nearly all the pipeline drugs now in the clinic for AD, as well as the development of alternative hypotheses to the dominant amyloid hypothesis (and therapeutic strategies based on them).

The 2010 report includes discussions of using animal models to develop therapeutic strategies for such diseases as Parkinson’s disease, polycystic kidney disease (PKD), autism, and various types of cancer. It also includes discussion of development of emerging animal models, from fish to frogs to mammals.

In the “emerging mammalian model systems” chapter, we include a discussion of the “reemergence” of the laboratory rat, an old animal model that had been eclipsed by the mouse in the era of knockout mice and genomics. Many of you have no doubt seen the ads from SAGE Labs (Sigma Advanced Genetic Engineering) in scientific and trade journals, announcing that “knockout rats are finally here”. Some of you may also have seen the Nature news article Return of the rat. We cover the technologies behind the reemergence of the rat, and the companies and research groups that are driving this development, in our report. As we also discuss in the report, some of the new technologies used in developing rat models are also being applied to other mammalian species.

The report also covers the issue of why it is so difficult to model the complex diseases that are the major focus of current drug discovery and development efforts in the pharmaceutical/biotechnology industry, and strategies that researchers are using to develop more predictive animal models, especially more predictive mammalian models.

For more information on the report, or to order it, see the CHI Insight Pharma Reports website.

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