Thu, Nov 12, 2015 - Page 4 News List

NARL breeds immunodeficient mouse

MIGHTY MICE:The NARL has grown various tumor cells in advanced severe immuno deficiency mice, which might enable personalized cancer treatments

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

An advanced severe immuno deficiency mouse with pancreatic cancer is pictured at the National Applied Research Laboratories in Taipei on Tuesday last week.

Photo: CNA / National Applied Research

The National Applied Research Laboratories (NARL) said it has bred an immunodeficient mouse that can serve as a host for human tissue and tumor transplants without forming a rejection response, which might have personalized cancer treatment and precision medicine applications, National Laboratory Animal Center director Yu Chun Chiang (余俊強) said.

Two strains of laboratory mice — the nude mouse and the severe combined immunodeficiency mouse — are commonly used as hosts for human tissue transplants, Yu said.

However, those mice retain partially functional immune systems, making the transplanted human cells unable to be strongly expressed in the mice until a few generations have been bred, over which period transplanted cells might mutate, compromising the accuracy of experiments, he said.

The NARL cross-bred two strains of immunodeficient mice to create an advanced severe immuno deficiency (ASID) mouse, which lacks almost all forms of immune cells, so the mice show little or no immune response to transplanted cells, thus enabling grafted human cells to be examined, Yu said.

The NARL has successfully grown various tumor cells — including those of lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, blood cancer, skin cancer and breast cancer — in the ASID mice, something which could not be achieved with most types of immunodeficient mice, he said.

The ASID mouse is expected to enhance the accuracy of cancer treatment by allowing researchers to inject medication into mice carrying tumors directly transplanted from cancer patient to test which drugs are more effective against the tumor, he said.

The patient-derived tumor could be preserved in the ASID mice over generations to determine the biological marker and mechanism of the cancer, and to help develop new therapies and medicines, he said.

The ASID mouse is more cost-effective than its imported counterparts from the US and Japan, as an ASID mouse costs about NT$3,000 to produce, while an imported mouse costs between NT$15,000 and NT$30,000, Yu said, adding that the NARL can supply about 100 ASID mice per month.

The NARL said it is developing a second-generation ASID mouse, which would carry the human immune system to simulate human immune responses to create a type of mouse that more accurately mimics human responses for medical and immunological research.

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