Encyclopedia of Cancer

Living Edition
| Editors: Manfred Schwab

Preclinical Testing

  • Peter Greaves
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27841-9_4718-2



The process of testing potential new therapies in animal and cell-based test systems prior to their study in patients in order to assure their potential safety and efficacy.


It was recognized many years ago that potential medicines were often “poisons” so that some form of screening in animal models was required before new drugs could be tried in patients. For all types of medicines, it has been generally agreed that these tests should take the form of both pharmacological and toxicological studies in animals to avoid patients being exposed to drugs that are excessively toxic or without evidence of potential efficacy. Added impetus has come from the Nuremberg Code that was formulated after the trials of the Nazi doctors convicted for the conduct of horrific medical experiments on prisoners. While this code deals primarily with the consent of volunteers and patients, one...


Maximum Tolerate Dose Ames Test Micronucleus Assay Toxicity Experiment Genotoxicity Test 
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  1. Greaves P, Williams A, Eve M (1997) First dose of potential medicines to humans: how animals help. Nat Rev Drug Discov 3:226–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Schuster E (1997) Fifty years later: the significance of the Nuremberg Code. N Engl J Med 337:1436–1440CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cancer StudiesUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK