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New mouse model for testing cancer drugs
Date:7/19/2011

FRANKFURT. Only one in twenty cancer drugs makes its way from the laboratory to become an approved pharmaceutical product. The majority of new agents are only shown to be unsuitable in the later phases of clinical development which would explain the exorbitantly high development costs of 500 to 600 million euros per new cancer drug. In order to recognize at an earlier stage which side effects are associated with the use of new cancer drugs, a research group under the guidance of the Goethe University has developed a new mouse model. In cooperation with the companies Bayer Schering Pharma AG and Taconic Artemis GmbH, the researchers were the first to simulate drug-induced inhi-bition what is currently one of the most attractive target genes for new cancer drugs. They were able to demonstrate that, as a result of this, the rapid division of cancer cells was prevented while healthy cells were hardly affected. This study has been published in the current issue of the prestigious journal, Nature Communications.

The cancer gene, polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1), which is currently the subject of intense investigation, plays a central role in cell division. However, up to now, it has not been possible with classical mouse model to investigate what would happen if this gene were to be silenced in adult animals since the latter is indispensable to embryonic de-velopment. The researchers working together with Prof. Klaus Strebhardt from the Centre for Gynecology and Obstetrics at Frankfurt's University Hospital thus devised a method of silencing the gene at any point during the lifetime of the new transgenic mouse. To this end, they expressed short RNAs with a length of 20 to 22 base pairs in the cells of the mice. These short RNAs prevent the information which is read by the cancer gene from being converted into proteins. This method known as RNA interfe-rence was further developed by the researchers into an inducible system: The design is such that the expres
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Contact: Prof. Klaus Strebhardt
Strebhardt@em.uni-frankfurt.de
49-696-301-6894
Goethe University Frankfurt
Source:Eurekalert

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