In Vivo Testing
A key to understanding the effects of specific genetic alterations and diseases in vivo is using appropriate models. We currently use a large number of different transgenic and immunocompromised animal models, relating to specific neoplastic, neurological, cardiovascular, immunologic, metabolic, infectious and endocrinologic diseases.
In contradistinction to in vitro analysis of molecular expression, in which the sensor (optical dye, immunohistochemical stain, labeled antibody) is directly applied and washed off the target, in vivo testing requires that the probes overcome the barriers between their initial intravascular location and the target. These may include the vascular endothelium, basement membrane, cell membrane, and intracellular organelle membranes. The ligands used at CMIR are commonly designed to efficiently cross these barriers
The blood clearance and accumulation of reporter probes is an essential aspect of our studies in optimizing reporter molecules. We have quantitatively evaluated different routes of administration of vector delivery for gene therapy, for example, to improve the amount of transgene delivered to tumors. Additionally, knowledge of the biological distribution of our probes helps us in deciding which modalities will be most suited for imaging the alterations. For example, low accumulation in non-target tissues helps increase the target to background ratio.