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'Personalized immune' mouse offers new tool for studying autoimmune diseases
Date:3/14/2012

New York, NY (March 14, 2012) Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) scientists have developed a way to recreate an individual's immune system in a mouse. The "personalized immune mouse" offers researchers an unprecedented tool for individualized analysis of abnormalities that contribute to type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune diseases, starting at the onset of disease. The findings were published today in the online edition of Science Translational Medicine.

The mouse model could also have clinical applications, such as predicting how a particular patient might respond to existing drugs or immunotherapies, reports senior author Megan Sykes, Michael J. Friedlander Professor of Medicine and Professor of Microbiology & Immunology and Surgical Sciences (in Surgery) at CUMC. Dr. Sykes is also Director for the Columbia Center for Translational Immunology. In addition, the model might prove useful for developing individualized immunotherapies for fighting infection or cancer or for lessening a patient's rejection of transplanted tissue.

Researchers have been searching for new ways to tease apart the various factors that contribute to autoimmune disease. "While large-scale studies of human populations have provided important clues to the genetic basis of immune diseases, they have offered little information about the specific role the genes play," says Dr. Sykes. "It's difficult to isolate these mechanisms when looking at groups of patients who have had disease for different lengths of time or have been receiving different treatments. And the fact that they already have the disease makes it difficult to distinguish what underlies and propagates the autoimmune process."

Several research groups have attempted to create a personalized immune mouse. However, each model has had significant limitations, such as an inability to generate the full complement of immune cells and incompatibilities between tissues used to recreate the hum
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Contact: Karin Eskenazi
ket2116@columbia.edu
212-342-0508
Columbia University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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