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Experimental Therapeutics Research

Rodent models for assessments of the mechanisms and toxicity profiles of drugs are crucial for pre-clinical investigations.  Comparative pharmacokinetics can help us to understand aspects of treatments, including efficacy and drug metabolism.  Toxicity and safety are important considerations for potential therapeutic compounds, and researchers explore this in rats.  Investigations involving the monitoring of drug uptake can be performed, and evaluations of the possible effects on both normal tissues and tumors must be assessed.  The wealth of data from rat experiments can also guide more general features of drug development, such as the modeling of potential compounds in silico to improve screening and speed drug development.

Evaluation of specific disease treatments are often performed in appropriate rat models. For example, models of breast cancer therapeutics have been provided by rat systems. Osteosarcoma studies offer insights that inform human treatment.  Investigating more general aspects of chemotherapy in rats, and subsequent improvements to treatment scenarios, may also benefit human patients.

Assessing the potential of various drug delivery strategies is often performed in rats.  Targeted mechanisms including antibodies, micelles, and nanoparticles have been explored in rats.  Gene therapy has been explored in rat models.  The challenging problem of drug delivery past the blood-brain barrier can be tackled in rats, using infusion methods and strategies that may enhance human treatments.

Because of their larger size, rats are sometimes the choice for researchers who wish to explore physical aspects of intervention such as surgery or other physical treatment aspects.  Even post-transplantation tumor recurrence can be studied in rats in hepatocellular carcinoma models and in colorectal cancer models. The effectiveness of non-surgical interventions such as ablations can be studied.

The utility of rat models using various imaging techniques has been demonstrated widely.  The optimization of imaging strategies in these small animals will benefit the diagnosis of human tumors. Examples of improvements in prostate cancer imaging and brain cancer imaging are just a fraction of the types of studies that can be performed.  Improvements in assessing the images of rat models from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can also benefit patients as we learn more about tumor biology. Basic aspects of physiology, such as blood and lymph flow in vivo, can be explored that can lead to better understanding of treatment dynamics.