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cardiovascular disease

Chamber assays allow for the determination of 3D vessel growth in one animal, typically over a period of 1–3 weeks. As a result, separate groups of mice are not required at each measurement point, and hence, the number of animals used is minimized. The cranial window chamber assay has several other advantages including better transplantability and induction of a rapid angiogenic response However, all chamber assays are invasive and technically demanding. The rabbit ear chamber is expensive for routine use, and a period of 4–6 weeks must pass after surgery before the test substance can be placed into the chamber. The skinfold chamber can have poor optical properties due to skin thickness; and the cranial window requires the injection of a fluorescent marker in order to image new vessels.

Tumour models

Many different in vivo tumour models have been developed to test the activity of potential anti-cancer treatments. Tumours can be grown syngeneically (e.g. subcutaneous), orthotopically (in the tissue of origin) or as xenografts in immunodeficient rodents, with the effect of the test substance on tumour size (diameter, area or volume) and animal survival being determined at regular intervals Tumour models have also been used specifically to investigate anti-angiogenic drugs. In order for tumours to grow beyond a certain size, they require the development of blood vessels (i.e. angiogenesis), to obtain oxygen and nutrients and remove waste products. There are a number of specific histological analyses that can be used to examine effects on these blood vessels, such as vascular density, blood flow and/or thrombosis and concomitant tumour cell apoptosis/necrosis; these histological analyses are summarized in. The potential anti-angiogenic effects of a new drug can also be tested against well-vascularized vs. poorly vascularized tumours, as well as tumours of vascular origin including chemically induced haemangiosarcomas and Kaposi’s sarcoma