The more we learn from animal models about how tumors spread, the greater the possibilities for identifying better disease targets. Live from AACR, a discussion with the experts.

The US National Cancer Institute estimates that about 8.8 million people worldwide—600,000 of them in the US alone—die from cancer every year. The lethal cancers vary in type, but most have one thing in common; they have spread well beyond the point where the initial cancer seeded.

These cancers are extremely hard to treat because the metastases behave like distinct diseases. The more we can learn from animal models about how tumors develop and spread, the greater the possibilities are for identifying new and better disease targets, and for designing drugs that can reach those targets.

Innovative tools that are helping to shed light on tumor progression range from optical imaging techniques, which attach bioluminescent and fluorescent tags so we can observe how tumors are progressing in real-time, and rodent-sized positron emission tomography or PET scans, which can look deep inside the animal’s brain to monitor metabolic activity in brain tumors.

Another innovative tool is in vivo microdialysis, which can measure signaling molecules and oncometabolites in the tumor microenvironment of freely moving rodents.

A panel at the AACR meeting this week, hosted by Eureka, Charles River’s science blog, explored some of the innovative ways Charles River scientists are shining a light on cancer. The panel included Imaging Scientist Vivek Mahajan, PhD, Tuulia Huhtala, PhD, Head of Biomarkers and Molecular Imaging, and Arash Rassoulpour, PhD, a Senior Director for Charles River Discovery. The panel was moderated by Arash.

Review all 14 posters that Charles River presented during AACR 2018 by visiting our website, where you can also learn more about our oncology capabilitiesYou can also view Eureka’s full coverage of AACR 2018 here.