Cellular and animal models of human disease are fundamental for the characterization of disease pathophysiology, target identification, and in vivo evaluation and validation of novel therapeutic agents and treatments. In vivo models mimicking multi factor based diseases such as cancer in a precise manner will be of enormous value for preclinical target validation. Such models will allow validation of new therapeutic agents in cells or animals mimicking disease in a much more precise manner than currently available systems. Such stringent testing will reduce the number of experimental animals needed and significantly increase the chances that subsequent clinical trials are successful and drugs enter the market at lower costs in shorter time.
SwitchItOn will develop novel genomic switches needed for the generation of precisely such cellular and animal models. The switches will allow turning on and off multiple (trans)genes independently of each other in vivo. First prototypes of three inducible systems are available, E-Rex, Phlo, & RuX, which can regulate gene expression by adding erythromycin (Ery), phloretin (Phlo) or RU486 to the system. In order to bring these expression systems to the market, all three systems need optimization in terms of increasing tightness, inducibility, sensitivity and reversibility.