Of Mice And Men: “Humanized” Mice a Breakthrough in Studying Human Disease
Conducting research on human diseases in animal models has long been a challenge for scientists. After all, there are differences between the two species that go way beyond ears and tails. So creating a mouse that more closely simulates the human condition has been a major breakthrough for scientists.
Humanized mice are bred to be immune deficient, which makes it possible for them to carry functioning human genes, tissues, even cancer tumors. These mouse models have become a major platform for analyzing the safety and effectiveness of potential new drugs.
James Mulloy, PhD, directs the Humanized Mouse Resource Core at Cincinnati Children’s, which worked for more than two years to generate a colony of immune-deficient mice that remain strong enough to grow and develop while carrying human forms of leukemia.
Most of the mice are used within Cincinnati Children’s and the University of Cincinnati. Some are sold to researchers around the world. “Not a lot of centers can do what we are doing,” Mulloy says.