In vivo CAM Assays

The In vivo CAM assays unit is a research infrastructure that provides scientific expertise and services using the chick embryo/egg model, in particular, its chorioallantoic membrane - the CAM.


The In vivo CAM assays unit was created with the aim to provide researchers access to alternative/additional in vivo tools.  We have developed and implemented successfully technical procedures using this model. A fully equipped laboratory exclusively dedicated to CAM assays services is running since 2012.

Assays are available for all scientific community to analyze:

  • Angiogenesis
  • Tumorigenesis
  • Invasion
  • Metastization
  • Vascular permeability


We have optimized tools to study cancer related mechanisms and potential therapeutic anti-cancer drugs, using several tumor cell models previously grown in culture.

CAM assays can also be applied to evaluate the angiogenic response of biomaterials, drugs, compounds, supernatants, extracts,etc.

The In vivo CAM assays unit work is validated both by our publication track record and by our national and international network of collaborators and clients (academia and industry). Our gathered knowhow allows us to address new challenges and widen model applications.

For further information please contact Marta Teixeira Pinto (


More about the model

The chick embryo has long been used as model organism in a number of research areas including oncobiology and biomaterial research. The chick embryo is surrounded by the chorioallantoic membrane (CAM), a highly vascularized extra-embryonic membrane that can be used to graft human cells. When grafted on CAM, tumor cells are capable of stimulating formation of new blood vessels, gaining their blood supply. This allows them to develop in a similar manner as in its natural hosts i.e. to proliferate, invade and metastize to the chick embryonic organs.The in vivo chick embryo model presents several important advantages. The chick embryo is naturally immunoincompetent, thus easily allowing mammal cell xenografts. The procedures are relatively simple, involving short experimental times and low costs. Additionally, the Directive 2010/63/EU of the European Parliament and of the council of 22 September 2010 on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes does not contain any kind of restriction to the use of non-mammal embryos. The use of this alternative animal model fits in the “3Rs policy”.

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