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Boston College biologists build a better mouse model for cancer research
Date:4/9/2008

CHESTNUT HILL, MA (4/9/08) Researchers at Boston College have developed the first laboratory mouse model that mimics cancers spread through the human body. Using their novel cell line, the team discovered one of the bodys primary defensive cells plays a role in cancers attack.

The development of a new animal model a line of cancer cells injected into a laboratory mouse that displays the full spectrum of systemic metastatic cancer in humans removes a "scientific stumbling block" in advancing cancer research and potential treatments, according to Boston College Biologist Thomas Seyfried, whose findings appear this week in the online version of the International Journal of Cancer and will be presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research in San Diego.

"What we have developed is the first model in the mouse that replicates all of the hallmarks of metastatic cancer," said Seyfried, the project leader. Now, we have a tool that can be effective in identifying basic mechanisms and new therapies to treat the disease.

Researchers produced two cell lines that when injected into mice express all the major biological processes of metastasis. A third line, when injected, grew rapidly, but did not lead to metastatic cancer.

Previous mouse models contain limitations in effectiveness and speed. Many models fail to produce cancer in each animal subject and it often takes several months before cancer is detected. In other models, cancer cells are transplanted into animals with disabled immune systems. Within three weeks, the two Seyfried models produced tumors in 100 percent of the mice, which had healthy immune systems.

The cell line enabled researchers to make a new discovery about metastatic cells, namely that these cells express properties of macrophages, tissue cells that usually protect organisms against invading microbes in the environment and bacteria that lead to infection and disease.

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Contact: Ed Hayward
ed.hayward@bc.edu
617-552-4826
Boston College
Source:Eurekalert

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