This award aims to establish a chick embryo facility at the University of Strathclyde to replace the use of mice in a number of different cancer studies.
A range of in vivo and in vitro models are used to study cancer to reflect different types and stages of the disease. Many are modelled using mouse xenograft models, where cells or patient samples are transplanted heterotopically or into the organ associated with the cancer. Through an NC3Rs David Sainsbury Fellowship, Dr Anne Herrmann developed a platform using the chick embryo to study cancer initiation, growth and metastasis. Cells are implanted into the chorioallantoic membrane (CAM), a highly vascular extraembryonic membrane, where they form a small tumour that can be used to study tumorigenesis, angiogenesis and metastasis. Anne has generated standard operating procedures for studying multiple cancer types, including breast, head and neck, lung, colon, and pancreatic cancers. Based on current thinking, chick embryos are incapable of experiencing suffering and so can provide a partial replacement for other animals.
To enable further replacement beyond the University of Liverpool, Anne will work with researchers at the University of Strathclyde to set up a chick embryo facility, training end users and a specialised technician. Researchers will then be invited to trial the CAM model in their own studies reducing the barriers to uptake.