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The use of small animal models in basic and preclinical research is now an integral part of developing and testing new drugs.
The use of small animal models in basic and preclinical research is now an integral part of developing and testing new drugs prior to commercialization, and small animal imaging is an efficient and cost-effective research platform for the timely validation and commercialization of novel drug agents, according to a new market report.
Moreover, it boosts understanding of the underlying mechanisms of conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular, immunological and neurodegenerative diseases, noted the authors of Breakthroughs in Small Animal Imaging, published by Frost & Sullivan. They explore the importance of medical imaging as a tool in research applications focused towards drug discovery/development and the understanding of basic pathological physiology, wherein changes at the cellular or molecular level in animal models are closely monitored over time.
Miniaturized versions of clinical diagnostic modalities such as micro single-photon-emission tomography, micro positron-emission tomography, micro-computed tomography, micro magnetic resonance tomography, optical imaging, and micro ultrasound can improve researchers’ ability to longitudinally study various experimental models of human disease through animal models. These modalities can increase efficacy and decrease the number of animals used in clinical research studies.
“For researchers, the unique advantage of in vivo small animal imaging is its ability to noninvasively screen, analyze and monitor animal models before, during and after experimental intervention or drug administration, and thereby produce quantitative measurements of study outcomes,” noted industry analyst Darshana De. “Importantly, small animal imaging allows more data to be collected from a single clinical imaging study.”
Since animal imaging enables image outputs from different modalities to be combined in a single study or even in a single modality, it can be leveraged to obtain multiple physiological or functional parameters and endpoints, in addition to anatomical or other traditional endpoints.
“Most end users are non-industry institutions that depend on federal and private research grant funding for small animal imaging equipment purchases,” explained De “The low approval rate for funds and grants – which are usually given to established investigators with a high rate of achievement due to the duration of their work – thus represents a major obstacle to market growth.”
For now, the acquisition of smaller preclinical imaging manufacturers with viable operations and patent-protected products by larger original equipment manufacturers will be a key means to gain market share, according to the report.