One of the trickiest parts of drug discovery is moving from test tubes to animals. What if we could improve the pace of the process and the expectations for results?

When we consider the rigorous and deliberate pace of the drug discovery process, it can sometimes seem like it goes too slowly. After all, diseases are also fighting for survival, in their own way. But the process is grueling for good reason: real research takes time. What if there was a way to significantly improve not only the pace of the process, but also the expectations for results?

A new translational platform for immuno-oncology assays developed by Charles River Laboratories is attempting to do just that by trying to push the process to animal models more quickly. Since these assays are done on the most relevant human cells, specifically from donors that can be used again and again for comparison, the tests can be more complex than with traditional in vitro models. The results of these tests are more relevant than simple, single cell studies, and can predict more accurately what the in vivo results will be.

“The unique aspect of it and the point of innovation is that we have an internal blood donor panel, where volunteers give blood samples on a regular basis and this allows us to do the work with primary cells,” says Martin O’Rourke of Charles River’s Integrated Drug Discovery team. “So you’re actually working with cells that are relevant to the human body and ultimately which will be relevant to the clinical setting.”