The next step for Largaespada, Jenkins, Copeland and their colleagues will be to generate and analyze a large number of other tumors induced in mice using the Sleeping Beauty jumping gene. Largaespada and his team will focus on identifying genes causing prostate, lung and colorectal cancer; Jenkins and her team will study genes for tumors in the brain, melanoma, breast, leukemia and lymphoma.
Largaespada, Jenkins and Copeland acknowledge the difference between research in mice and actual use in humans. But as Largaespada pointed out, "We have proof of principle that we're on the right track. We know that some of the same genes that are mutated in cancer in mice using Sleeping Beauty are also mutated in the same form of cancer in humans. An example is the Notch1 gene, which was mutated in 50 percent of mice with T cell lymphoma induced by Sleeping Beauty. The same gene is mutated in about 50 percent of people with a similar type of cancer. We believe the Sleeping Beauty method will allow us to identify many other such genes for other cancers."
*Collier L., Carlson C., Ravimohan S., Dupuy A., Largaespada D. "Cancer gene discovery in solid tumours using transposon-based somatic mutagenesis in the mouse," Nature, Vol. 436, No. 7047.
Dupuy A., Akagi K., Largaespada D., Copeland N., Jenkins N. "Mammalian mutagenesis using a highly mobile somatic Sleeping Beauty transposon system," Nature, Vol. 436, No. 7047.