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NC3Rs: National Centre for the Replacement Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research
CRACK IT Challenge

Transgene Track - An imaging approach to track AAV gene therapies and CAR T-cells in vivo

A Transgene Track

At a glance

In progress
Contract amount


  • Reduction
  • Refinement



Approaches to assess cell and gene therapy biodistribution in vivo require animals (e.g. mice) to be euthanised, are time consuming and do not provide information on the temporal and spatial localisation of the therapy in target tissue and other organs. 

Sponsored by GSK and Novartis, the aim of the Transgene Track Challenge is to develop a sensitive, absolute quantification method for tracking adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene therapies and chimeric antigen receptor T-cells (CAR-T) in vivo. Successful delivery of the Challenge could lead to a reduction in the number of animals used in biodistribution studies by allowing the same animal to be monitored at multiple time points.   

Phase 2 funding has been awarded to a team led by Professor Wolfgang Weber (Technical University of Munich, Germany). The team will develop a reporter gene system and use in vivo PET imaging to track and quantify CAR-T cells and AAVs.  

Full information about the Challenge is available on the Innovation Platform website