Pharmatest Services, in collaboration with Taconic Biosciences, has developed a new experimental mouse model with a human immune system specifically engineered to study bone metastasis — a frequent consequence of many cancers, including breast, prostate, and lung cancer.
“Despite its high frequency in breast, prostate, and lung cancer patients, bone metastasis is typically considered to be incurable and therapeutic development for this painful disease has been stymied by the lack of relevant animal models for studying efficacy of immunotherapies. Taconic is excited to partner with Pharmatest to address this large unmet need,” Dr. Azusa Tanaka, product manager for Taconic’s precision research model portfolio, said in a press release.
As cancer progresses, cells migrate from their original tissue to other parts of the body, eventually invading other tissues and starting a secondary point of cancer growth, called metastasis. Different cancer cell types have different affinities to invade and form metastasis in specific tissues. Bones are often selected by cancer cells to metastasize, which in many cases is a difficult area to treat.
Animal models are frequently used in preclinical tests to assess the effectiveness and safety of new therapies before moving them into human trials. However, for these models to be a reliable tool they need to represent the human diseases in the best possible way.
The use of “humanized” animal models, with a full representation of the human immune system, has become a key research tool for oncology studies and to test immune-activating therapies.
Based on these concepts, Pharmatest has developed a new animal model that can help reveal the role of human immune cells in the development of bone metastases. They used Taconic’s huNOG model, which has human immune cells, and developed the new model that replicates the bone metastasis environment by having both human cancer and immune cells in the bones.
“By using humanized mice provided by Taconic, we have been able to establish more predictive animal models to support immuno-oncology therapy development,” said Dr. Jenni Bernoulli, chief operating officer at Pharmatest.
This new mouse model will enable a variety of studies focused on the development and efficacy testing of new therapies to treat bone metastasis. The model is available from Pharmatest.