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Our Project grant scheme is open for applications, supporting the development of new 3Rs approaches and technologies!

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

Using chicken eggs to advance the 3Rs in cancer drug discovery

Injecting a chicken egg under a spotlight

At a glance

Award date
November 2016 - September 2017
Contract amount


  • Replacement



Attrition is a major issue in anticancer drug development. Only 5% of agents that have anticancer activity in preclinical development are licenced after Phase III testing, making the drug development process enormously costly and inefficient. Poorly predictive preclinical oncology models are a major factor in this high failure rate.

INOVOTION has developed sensitive and reliable in vivo tests where tumour cells are deposited on the chorioallantoid membrane (CAM) of embryonated chicken eggs. The CAM is a highly vascularised and easily accessible membrane allowing for real-time visualisation of tissue changes. This makes it an ideal model for simultaneously monitoring and measuring tumour growth, metastatic invasion and toxicity in response to potential anticancer therapeutics. The new approach requires only minute amounts of drug and combines efficacy and toxicity studies; making the drug development process faster and less expensive.

Through CRACK IT Solutions, INOVOTION sought partners to assist with validation studies to demonstrate the utility of their model. With support of funding from the scheme, INOVOTION will work with a large pharmaceutical company (Top 10) to assess the toxicity and efficacy of a novel class of antibody drug conjugates using a pyrrolobenzodiazepines (PBD) warhead. Data from the CAM model will be compared to existing in vivo mouse data provided by the pharmaceutical company to evaluate the effectiveness of the model as a cost-effective compound screening method.

If successful, INOVOTION’s novel technology could dramatically reduce the use of rodents in cancer drug discovery, as more candidate molecules will be filtered out before progressing to testing in classical in vivo models.

Full details about this CRACK IT Solution can be found on the  CRACK IT website.