Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Changes on horizon for mice models?

"Genomic responses in mouse models poorly mimic human inflammatory diseases" is now available in the online version of PNAS. It calls into question the suitability of mouse models for diseases such as sepsis.

Two NOD/SCID mice expressing enhanced green fluorescent
 protein (eGFP) under UV-illumination flanking one plain
 NOD/SCID mouse from the non-transgenic parental line
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-12-21 PDF
For years mice have been the go to model for numerous diseases when testing the effects of potential drugs. The current report compared the genes that were being activated in white blood cells of human that had experienced sepsis, trauma or severe burns. They found that the genetic response to these injuries was similar. However, when they sought to compare their results to the accepted mice models there were no similarities between human and mouse and each mouse model for the conditions used different genes!

The failure to find effective drug treatments for these conditions is believed to stem from the lack of similarity between mouse and human responses. Nearly 150 drugs for sepsis have been tested in humans based on results from mice and all have failed. However, there is hope that since we now know that the human response to burns, trauma or sepsis are similar that a drug that aids with one will aid with the others.

By no means is this the end of mice as an animal model. There are too many cases to innumerate where they have been effective. In the end we must remember that the goal is to cure humans and not mice.

For more information see this article from the NY Times: Mice Fall Short as Test Subjects for Humans’ Deadly Ills