Alternative Preclinical Testing Modalities: a Clinician-Scientist's Perspective
Professor S Homer-Vanniasinkam IBSc MD FRCSED FRCS
Traditionally, compounds and agents for putative therapeutic and diagnostic use have undergone extensive preclinical testing in animals prior to their evaluation in clinical trials. With the recent advances in cellular and molecular biology, and bionanotechnology, the necessity for such animal studies is being challenged. Thus, there are cogent arguments being put forward to support the use of emerging technologies which can provide not only more detailed information at the cellular and subcellular level, but also data on each individual’s response to a particular drug. The use of these new techniques and assays would lead to a reduction in, or indeed a replacement of, animal experiments. However, can these purely in vitro assays truly provide the same information as would a test carried out in a whole, living, system? Furthermore, would a clinician have the same level of confidence to conduct clinical trials with compounds and agents that have not been previously tested in vivo?
In this talk, some of the emerging technologies being proposed as alternatives to preclinical testing will be explored, along with the views of a clinician-scientist who understands both the opportunities and the challenges of attempting to replace traditional testing with these new modalities.